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Study finds Alzheimer’s compromises the immune system as well as the brain, offering insights on brain-body communication

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease provides new information on how the brain and the rest of the body communicate.

  • Previous studies have suggested that pathology related to Alzheimer’s disease may occur before the clinical symptoms of the disease manifest, and that inflammation is one of the main components of the disease.
  • Links between the levels of inflammatory markers in cerebrospinal fluid and blood, and mild cognitive impairment, have also been revealed in past research.
  • Moreover, scientists have discovered that increases in inflammatory markers may appear even decades before any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear.
  • The researchers of the current study wanted to determine whether these inflammation markers in the blood were related to known measures of Alzheimer’s-related pathology, even after considering cerebrospinal fluid levels of inflammation.
  • Moreover, they aimed to identify whether inflammation markers in blood plasma indicated inflammation of the central nervous system.
  • They examined blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples from 173 middle-aged and older adults who enrolled in the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The participants were all healthy and had no clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but some had family histories of dementia believed due to Alzheimer’s.
  • Results showed that both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid markers of inflammation independently sent information about Alzheimer’s-related pathology and neuronal damage.
  • The study was carried out by a group of researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, together with the University of Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center.

Overall, the study suggests that there is a link between inflammation biomarkers in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid and markers of Alzheimer’s disease associated pathology.

Journal Reference:

Bettcher, B., Johnson, S., Fitch, R., Casaletto, K., Heffernan, K., Asthana, S., Zetterberg, H., Blennow, K., Carlsson, C., Neuhaus, J., Bendlin, B., Kramer, J. CEREBROSPINAL FLUID AND PLASMA LEVELS OF INFLAMMATION DIFFERENTIALLY RELATE TO CNS MARKERS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE PATHOLOGY AND NEURONAL DAMAGE. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2018; 62 (1): 385 DOI:

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