Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive, neurodegenerative condition characterised by accumulation of toxic βeta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques, is one of the leading causes of dementia globally. The cognitive impairment that is a hallmark of AD may be caused by inflammation in the brain triggered and maintained by the presence of Aβ protein, ultimately leading to neuronal dysfunction and loss. Since there is a significant inflammatory component to AD, it is postulated that anti-inflammatory strategies may be of prophylactic or therapeutic benefit in AD. One such strategy is that of regular physical activity, which has been shown in epidemiological studies to be protective against various forms of dementia including AD. Exercise induces an anti-inflammatory environment in peripheral organs and also increases expression of anti-inflammatory molecules within the brain. Here we review the evidence, mainly from animal models of AD, supporting the hypothesis that exercise can reduce or slow the cellular and cognitive impairments associated with AD by modulating neuroinflammation.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Exercise; astrocytes; microglia; neuroinflammation.