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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1996 Jan 17;777:213-20.

Anti-inflammatory drugs in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Lesions in Alzheimer disease are characterized by the assembly of a variety of cells and proteins associated with the immune system. Activated microglia express high levels of MHC glycoproteins and receptors for complement. Small numbers of T-lymphocytes infiltrate tissue. Proteins of the classical complement pathway are closely connected with beta-amyloid deposits. Several materials associated with senile plaques, including beta-amyloid protein itself, bind C1q in vitro and activate the pathway. The membrane attack complex of complement, as well as proteins which defend against that complex, colocalize with dystrophic neurites. These data imply that an autodestructive process is occurring in Alzheimer's disease, and that anti-inflammatory drugs might be an effective form of therapy. Some epidemiological evidence and results of a pilot clinical trial support this hypothesis.

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