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Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease wanes with age

Jeroen JM Hoozemans1*, Annemieke JM Rozemuller1, Elise S van Haastert1, Piet Eikelenboom23 and Willem A van Gool3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Valeriusplein 9, 1075 BG Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22660, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Journal of Neuroinflammation 2011, 8:171  doi:10.1186/1742-2094-8-171

Published: 7 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Inflammation is a prominent feature in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been proposed that aging has an effect on the function of inflammation in the brain, thereby contributing to the development of age-related diseases like AD. However, the age-dependent relationship between inflammation and clinical phenotype of AD has never been investigated.

Methods

In this study we have analysed features of the neuroinflammatory response in clinically and pathologically confirmed AD and control cases in relation to age (range 52-97 years). The mid-temporal cortex of 19 controls and 19 AD cases was assessed for the occurrence of microglia and astrocytes by immunohistochemistry using antibodies directed against CD68 (KP1), HLA class II (CR3/43) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP).

Results

By measuring the area density of immunoreactivity we found significantly more microglia and astrocytes in AD cases younger than 80 years compared to older AD patients. In addition, the presence of KP1, CR3/43 and GFAP decreases significantly with increasing age in AD.

Conclusion

Our data suggest that the association between neuroinflammation and AD is stronger in relatively young patients than in the oldest patients. This age-dependent relationship between inflammation and clinical phenotype of AD has implications for the interpretation of biomarkers and treatment of the disease.

Keywords:
Alzheimer's disease; microglia; astrocyte; aging