Do infections have a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease?

Nat Rev Neurol. 2020 Apr;16(4):193-197. doi: 10.1038/s41582-020-0323-9. Epub 2020 Mar 9.


The idea that infectious agents in the brain have a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) was proposed nearly 30 years ago. However, this theory failed to gain substantial traction and was largely disregarded by the AD research community for many years. Several recent discoveries have reignited interest in the infectious theory of AD, culminating in a debate on the topic at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in July 2019. In this Viewpoint article, experts who participated in the AAIC debate weigh up the evidence for and against the infectious theory of AD and suggest avenues for future research and drug development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / microbiology*
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human
  • Herpesvirus 7, Human
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Infections / microbiology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis


  • Apolipoprotein E4