The role of innate immune responses and neuroinflammation in amyloid accumulation and progression of Alzheimer's disease

Immunol Cell Biol. 2020 Jan;98(1):28-41. doi: 10.1111/imcb.12301. Epub 2019 Nov 20.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid beta (Aβ) accumulation, tau pathology and neuroinflammation. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the role of neuroinflammation in directly contributing to the progression of AD. Studies in mice and humans have identified a role for microglial cells, the resident innate immune cells of the central nervous system, in AD. Activated microglia are a key hallmark of the disease and the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines by microglia may result in a positive feedback loop between neurons and microglia, resulting in ongoing low-grade inflammation. Traditionally, the pathways of Aβ production and neuroinflammation have been considered independently; however, recent studies suggest that these processes may converge to promote the pathology associated with AD. Here we review the importance of inflammation and microglia in AD development and effects of inflammatory responses on cellular pathways of neurons, including Aβ generation.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; amyloid; microglial cells; neuroimmunology; neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mice
  • Microglia / immunology*
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Neurons / immunology*
  • Neurons / pathology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides