Infectious Agents and Neurodegenerative Diseases: Exploring the Links

Curr Top Med Chem. 2017;17(12):1390-1399. doi: 10.2174/1568026617666170103164040.


Recent studies have shown that bacterial and viral infections are risk factors for various neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Lyme disease (LD). However, it is still controversial how the infections play a role in neurological diseases progression. Infections in central nervous system may lead multiple damages in infected and neighboring cells. The infection leads to the activation of inflammatory processes and host immune responses, which acts as defense mechanism and also causes damage to the host neuronal functions and viability. Several bacterial and viral pathogens have been reported for neurodegeneration, such as the production and deposit of misfolded protein aggregates, oxidative stress, deficient autophagic processes, synaptopathies and neuronal death. These effects may act in combination with other factors, like aging, metabolic diseases and the genetic makeup of the host. We will focus in this review on the possible link between neurodegeneration and infections particularly Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Borrelia burgdorferi, Mycoplasma etc.

Keywords: AD; ALS; Borelia bugdorferi; Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Inflammation; LD; MS; Mycoplasma; Neurodegenrations; infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Infective Agents