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J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;28(1):11-24. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-110821.

Stress-induced cytokines and neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Anatomy Histology, Forensic Medicine and Orthopaedics, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Increasing evidence has been accumulating about the role of stress as an important challenge to the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The hippocampus, one of the areas of the brain damaged during AD, was the first brain region, besides the hypothalamus, to be recognized as a target of stress hormones, including cortisol, sympathetic and parasympathetic transmitters, cytokines, and metabolic hormones. The present review aims at summarizing neuroinflammatory mechanisms induced by stress, resulting in neuronal dysfunction and impaired neurogenesis. Lifestyle and environmental factors related to metabolic and inflammatory alterations observed in stressed subjects and thought to favor AD development and progression, as well as the possible ways of prevention, are discussed.

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