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Current Alzheimer Research


ISSN (Print): 1567-2050
ISSN (Online): 1875-5828

Brain local and regional neuroglial alterations in Alzheimer´s Disease: cell types, responses and implications.

Author(s): Adolfo Toledano, María-Isabel Álvarez, Adolfo Toledano-Díaz, José-Joaquín Merino and José Julio Rodríguez

Volume 13, Issue 4, 2016

Page: [321 - 342] Pages: 22

DOI: 10.2174/1567205013666151116141217

Price: $65


From birth to death, neurons are dynamically accompanied by neuroglial cells in a very close morphological and functional relationship. Three families have been classically considered within the CNS: astroglia, oligodendroglia and microglia. Many types/subtypes (including NGR2+ cells), with a wide variety of physiological and pathological effects on neurons, have been described using morphological and immunocytochemical criteria. Glio-glial, glio-neuronal and neuro-glial cell signaling and gliotransmission are phenomena that are essential to support brain functions. Morphofunctional changes resulting from the plasticity of all the glial cell types parallel the plastic neuronal changes that optimize the functionality of neuronal circuits. Moreover, neuroglia possesses the ability to adopt a reactive status (gliosis) in which, generally, new functions arise to improve and restore if needed the neural functionality. All these features make neuroglial cells elements of paramount importance when attempting to explain any physiological or pathological processes in the CNS, because they are involved in both, neuroprotection/neurorepair and neurodegeneration. There exist diverse and profound, regional and local, neuroglial changes in all involutive processes (physiological and pathological aging; neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer ´s disease –AD-), but today, the exact meaning of such modifications (the modifications of the different neuroglial types, in time and place), is not well understood. In this review we consider the different neuroglial cells and their responses in order to understand the possible role they fulfill in pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment (preventive or palliative) of AD. The existence of differentiated and/or concurrent pathogenic and neuro-protective/neuro-restorative astroglial and microglial responses is highlighted.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, astrogliosis, glial plasticity, glial neurodegeneration/neuroprotection, microgliosis, neuroglial cells, reactive neuroglial cells.

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