Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 227–243 | Cite as

Imaging Microglial Activation During Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Sriram VennetiEmail author
  • Clayton A. Wiley
  • Julia Kofler
Invited Review


Microglial activation is an important pathogenic component of neurodegenerative disease processes. This state of increased inflammation is associated not only with neurotoxic consequences but also neuroprotective effects, e.g., phagocytosis and clearance of amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, activation of microglia appears to be one of the major mechanisms of amyloid clearance following active or passive immunotherapy. Imaging techniques may provide a minimally invasive tool to elucidate the complexities and dynamics of microglial function and dysfunction in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Imaging microglia in vivo in live subjects by confocal or two/multiphoton microscopy offers the advantage of studying these cells over time in their native environment. Imaging microglia in human subjects by positron emission tomography scanning with translocator protein-18 kDa ligands can offer a measure of the inflammatory process and a means of detecting progression of disease and efficacy of therapeutics over time.


microglia neuroinflammation Alzheimer’s disease immunization neurodegeneration imaging microscopy positron emission tomography translocator protein-18 Kda 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sriram Venneti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Clayton A. Wiley
    • 2
  • Julia Kofler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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