Do Microglia Default on Network Maintenance in Alzheimer's Disease?

Katherine A. Southam, Adele J. Vincent, David H. Small
2016 Journal of Alzheimer's Disease  
Although the cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains unknown, a number of new findings suggest that the immune system may play a critical role in the early stages of the disease. Genome-wide association studies have identified a wide array of risk-associated genes for AD, many of which are associated with abnormal functioning of immune cells. Microglia are the brain's immune cells. They play an important role in maintaining the brain's extracellular environment, including clearance of
more » ... ed proteins such as amyloid-␤ (A␤). Recent studies suggest that microglia play a more active role in the brain than initially considered. Specifically, microglia provide trophic support to neurons and also regulate synapses. Microglial regulation of neuronal activity may have important consequences for AD. In this article we review the function of microglia in AD and examine the possible relationship between microglial dysfunction and network abnormalities, which occur very early in disease pathogenesis.
doi:10.3233/jad-151075 pmid:26890782 pmcid:PMC4927862 fatcat:4qmgv7ahlnf7zaxsymbcw5yype