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Manipulation of Microglial Activation as a Therapeutic Strategy in Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia. Although the etiology of AD remains controversial, the amyloid hypothesis suggests that β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides may contribute to brain dysfunction, and microglial activation has become increasingly regarded as a potential contributor to disease pathogenesis. Microglial activation is characterized by morphological changes and by production of various effectors, and activated neuroinflammation concurrent with increased oxidative stress may contribute to damage to neurons. However, recently there has been a recognition that microglia may also play a neuroprotective role through their release of neurotrophic factors and through phagocytosis of Aβ. Thus, there is growing consensus that a favorable combination of diminished microglia- mediated neuroinflammation and enhanced Aβ clearance may be critical in AD therapy. In this review, we will discuss the role of microglial activation in AD and how pharmacologic manipulation of microglia might bear upon the treatment of AD.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; beta-amyloid; microglial activation; neuroinflammation; tau; therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, National Health Research Institutes, No.35 Keyan Road, Zhunan Town, Miaoli County 350, R.O.C., Taiwan.

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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