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Neurobiol Aging. 2001 Nov-Dec;22(6):885-93.

Glial activation in Alzheimer's disease: the role of Abeta and its associated proteins.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Milan School of Medicine, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via F. Sforza 35, 20122, Milan, Italy.


A common feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology is the abundance of reactive astrocytes and activated microglia in close proximity to neuritic plaques containing amyloid-beta protein (Abeta). The relationship between glial activation and neurodegeneration remains unclear, although several cytokines and inflammatory mediators produced by activated glia have the potential to initiate or exacerbate the progression of neuropathology. Assuming that glial activation plays a central role in the development and progression of AD, a prominent feature is to understand which stimuli drive this activation in senile plaques and to define their effects in vitro. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that deposition of Abeta and expression of its associated molecules represent important trigger factors in glial activation leading to an inflammatory reaction in the brain. Thus, unraveling the mechanisms by which these proteins exert their effect on glial cells may provide significant insight into the pathophysiology of AD, and may lead to the identification of new strategies for AD treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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