Immune Activation in Brain Aging and Neurodegeneration: Too Much or Too Little?

Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.98). 10/2009; 64(1):110-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.08.039
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Until recently, the brain was studied almost exclusively by neuroscientists and the immune system by immunologists, fuelling the notion that these systems represented two isolated entities. However, as more data suggest an important role of the immune system in regulating the progression of brain aging and neurodegenerative disease, it has become clear that the crosstalk between these systems can no longer be ignored and a new interdisciplinary approach is necessary. A central question that emerges is whether immune and inflammatory pathways become hyperactivated with age and promote degeneration or whether insufficient immune responses, which fail to cope with age-related stress, may contribute to disease. We try to explore here the consequences of gain versus loss of function with an emphasis on microglia as sensors and effectors of immune function in the brain, and we discuss the potential role of the peripheral environment in neurodegenerative diseases.

Download full-text


Available from: Kurt Lucin, Sep 01, 2014
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During the transition from acute to chronic stages of recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI), there is an evolving state of immunologic dysfunction that exacerbates the problems associated with the more clinically obvious neurologic deficits. Since injury directly affects cells embedded within the "immune privileged/specialized" milieu of the spinal cord, maladaptive or inefficient responses are likely to occur. Collectively, these responses qualify as part of the continuum of "SCI disease" and are important therapeutic targets to improve neural repair and neurological outcome. Generic immune suppressive therapies have been largely unsuccessful, mostly because inflammation and immunity exert both beneficial (plasticity enhancing) and detrimental (e.g. glia- and neurodegenerative; secondary damage) effects and these functions change over time. Moreover, "compartimentalized" investigations, limited to only intraspinal inflammation and associated cellular or molecular changes in the spinal cord, neglect the reality that the structure and function of the CNS are influenced by systemic immune challenges and that the immune system is 'hardwired' into the nervous system. Here, we consider this interplay during the progression from acute to chronic SCI. Specifically, we survey impaired/non-resolving intraspinal inflammation and the paradox of systemic inflammatory responses in the context of ongoing chronic immune suppression and autoimmunity. The concepts of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), compensatory anti-inflammatory response syndrome (CARS) and "neurogenic" spinal cord injury-induced immune depression syndrome (SCI-IDS) are discussed as determinants of impaired "host-defense" and trauma-induced autoimmunity.
    Experimental Neurology 08/2014; 258C:121-129. DOI:10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.04.023 · 4.62 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Progressively increased proinflammatory status is a major characteristic of the aging process and associated with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's diseases (AD). However, the regulation and role of common proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-23, in the aged brain are still unclear. Using the senescence-accelerated mouse prone-8 (SAMP8) model, we screened the cerebral expression of IL-12/23 in 3-, 7-, and 11-month-old mice and observed that their levels in the brain were upregulated during aging. To further examine whether the heightened activation of inflammatory cytokines may contribute to age-related brain dysfunction, we employed direct in vivo infusion of nonviral small interfering RNA (siRNA) to knock down the common IL-12/23 signaling subunit p40 in the brain. We found that these p40-deficient mice had significantly decreased cerebral amyloid-β levels, reduced synaptic and neuronal loss, and reversed cognitive impairments. Furthermore, in vivo delivery of a neutralizing p40-specific antibody likewise ameliorated AD-associated pathology and cognitive deficits in SAMP8 mice. Thus, our data indicate that the upregulated cerebral IL-12/23 during aging is involved in age-associated brain dysfunction and point to the modulation of IL-12/23 signaling molecule p40 as a promising strategy for the development of an AD therapy.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 09/2013; 38(3). DOI:10.3233/JAD-131148 · 3.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment is commonly reported as a consequence of chemotherapy and can have considerable impact on everyday life on cancer patients. Thus, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of this phenomenon and the underlying mechanism involved. In the present study we examined the role of neuroinflammation and myelination in chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (12-months old) were used in the study (total n=52, 13rats/group). Rats were randomly assigned to either the chemotherapy or saline control group. The drug combination of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil (CMF) was given i.p. once a week for 4 weeks. Rats in the control group received normal saline of equal volume. Animals from each group were further randomized to receive either: cyclooxygenase (COX-2) inhibitor, NS-393, to block the inflammatory response or vehicle. NS-398 was given at 10 mg/Kg i.p. and equal volume of saline (vehicle) was injected i.p. as vehicle. Both NS-398 and vehicle were injected one hour after the first CMF dose and then given daily for 28 days then rats were tested in the Y maze. Our data showed that: (1) CMF led to the increase in the levels of inflammatory mediators IL-1, TNF-, and COX-2 while levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 decreased; (2) cognitive impairment and neuroinflammation resulting from CMF persisted 4 weeks after the treatment ended; and (3) administration of NS-398 attenuated CMF-induced neuroinflammation and effects on myelin and cognitive impairment. These findings suggest the involvement of neuroinflammation in CMF-induced changes in myelin and myelination, and cognitive impairment.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 08/2013; 35. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.07.175 · 6.13 Impact Factor