Impact of HMGB1, RAGE, and TLR4 in Alzheimer's Disease (AD): From Risk Factors to Therapeutic Targeting

Cells. 2020 Feb 7;9(2):383. doi: 10.3390/cells9020383.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder and a leading cause of dementia, with accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) as defining pathological features. AD presents a serious global health concern with no cure to date, reflecting the complexity of its pathogenesis. Recent evidence indicates that neuroinflammation serves as the link between amyloid deposition, Tau pathology, and neurodegeneration. The high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein, an initiator and activator of neuroinflammatory responses, has been involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. HMGB1 is a typical damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) protein that exerts its biological activity mainly through binding to the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). RAGE and TLR4 are key components of the innate immune system that both bind to HMGB1. Targeting of HMGB1, RAGE, and TLR4 in experimental AD models has demonstrated beneficial effects in halting AD progression by suppressing neuroinflammation, reducing Aβ load and production, improving spatial learning, and inhibiting microglial stimulation. Herein, we discuss the contribution of HMGB1 and its receptor signaling in neuroinflammation and AD pathogenesis, providing evidence of its beneficial effects upon therapeutic targeting.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; HMGB1; Neuroinflammation; RAGE; TLR4.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • HMGB1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism*


  • HMGB1 Protein
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4