Polymicrobial Infections In Brain Tissue From Alzheimer's Disease Patients

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 17;7(1):5559. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05903-y.


Several studies have advanced the idea that the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) could be microbial in origin. In the present study, we tested the possibility that polymicrobial infections exist in tissue from the entorhinal cortex/hippocampus region of patients with AD using immunohistochemistry (confocal laser scanning microscopy) and highly sensitive (nested) PCR. We found no evidence for expression of early (ICP0) or late (ICP5) proteins of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in brain sections. A polyclonal antibody against Borrelia detected structures that appeared not related to spirochetes, but rather to fungi. These structures were not found with a monoclonal antibody. Also, Borrelia DNA was undetectable by nested PCR in the ten patients analyzed. By contrast, two independent Chlamydophila antibodies revealed several structures that resembled fungal cells and hyphae, and prokaryotic cells, but most probably were unrelated to Chlamydophila spp. Finally, several structures that could belong to fungi or prokaryotes were detected using peptidoglycan and Clostridium antibodies, and PCR analysis revealed the presence of several bacteria in frozen brain tissue from AD patients. Thus, our results show that polymicrobial infections consisting of fungi and bacteria can be revealed in brain tissue from AD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / microbiology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / pathogenicity
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Candida / immunology
  • Candida / pathogenicity
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chlamydophila / genetics
  • Chlamydophila / immunology
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex / diagnosis
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal