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Current Neuropharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Anti-inflammatory and Immune Therapy for Alzheimers Disease: Current Status and Future Directions

Author(s): Douglas Walker and Lih-Fen Lue

Volume 5, Issue 4, 2007

Page: [232 - 243] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/157015907782793667

Price: $65


From the initial characterizations of inflammatory responses in Alzheimers disease (AD) affected brains, namely the demonstration of activated microglia and reactive astrocytes, complement system activation, increased production of proinflammatory cytokines, and evidence for microglial-produced neurotoxins, there was hope that reducing inflammation might be a feasible treatment for this memory-robbing disease. This hope was supported by a number of epidemiology studies demonstrating that patients who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs had significantly lower risk of developing AD. However, clinical trials of anti-inflammatories have not shown effectiveness, and in recent years, the concept of immune therapy has become a treatment option as animal studies and clinical trials with Aβ vaccines have demonstrated enhanced amyloid removal through stimulation of microglial phagocytosis. This review will examine the current status of whether inhibiting inflammation is a valid therapeutic target for treating AD; what lessons have come from the clinical trials; what new pathways and classes of agents are being considered; and how this field of research can progress towards new therapeutics. We will examine a number of agents that have shown effectiveness in reducing inflammation amongst other demonstrated mechanisms of action. The major focus of much AD drug discovery has been in identifying agents that have antiamyloid properties; however, a number of these agents were first identified for their anti-inflammatory properties. As drug development and clinical testing is a costly and lengthy endeavor, sound justification of new therapeutic targets is required. Possible future directions for AD anti-inflammatory or immune clearance therapy will be discussed based on recent experimental data.

Keywords: Neurodegeneration, NSAIDS, cytokines, microglia, vaccination, neuroprotection, dementia, amyloid beta

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