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Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 9;9:672. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00672. eCollection 2018.

The Inflammatory Continuum of Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer's Disease.

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Department of Neuroscience, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, United States.


The post-injury inflammatory response is a key mediator in long-term recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Moreover, the immune response to TBI, mediated by microglia and macrophages, is influenced by existing brain pathology and by secondary immune challenges. For example, recent evidence shows that the presence of beta-amyloid and phosphorylated tau protein, two hallmark features of AD that increase during normal aging, substantially alter the macrophage response to TBI. Additional data demonstrate that post-injury microglia are "primed" and become hyper-reactive following a subsequent acute immune challenge thereby worsening recovery. These alterations may increase the incidence of neuropsychiatric complications after TBI and may also increase the frequency of neurodegenerative pathology. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to summarize experimental studies examining the relationship between TBI and development of AD-like pathology with an emphasis on the acute and chronic microglial and macrophage response following injury. Furthermore, studies will be highlighted that examine the degree to which beta-amyloid and tau accumulation as well as pre- and post-injury immune stressors influence outcome after TBI. Collectively, the studies described in this review suggest that the brain's immune response to injury is a key mediator in recovery, and if compromised by previous, coincident, or subsequent immune stressors, post-injury pathology and behavioral recovery will be altered.


Alzheimer’s disease; macrophage; microglia; monocyte; neuroinflammation; traumatic brain injury

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