Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and Alzheimer’s disease: a connection to remember?
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- Shima, K., Kuhlenbäumer, G. & Rupp, J. Med Microbiol Immunol (2010) 199: 283. doi:10.1007/s00430-010-0162-1
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, whereby it is customary to distinguish between early familial FAD and late-onset AD (LOAD). The development of LOAD, the most prevalent form of AD, is believed to be a multifactorial process that may also involve infections with bacterial or viral pathogens. After the first report on the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn) in brains of patients with AD appeared in 1998, this bacterium has most often been implicated in AD pathogenesis. However, while some studies demonstrate a clear association between Cpn infection and AD, others have failed to confirm these findings. This might be due to heterogeneity of the specimens analyzed and lack of standardized detection methods. Additionally, non-availability of suitable chlamydial infection models severely hampers research in the field. In this review, we will critically discuss the possible role of Cpn in the pathogenesis of LOAD in light of the available data. We will also present three mutually non-exclusive hypotheses how Cpn might contribute to the pathogenesis of AD.