Immunologic Approach to Therapy in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Vijendra K. Singh
  • Reed P. Warren
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 36)


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progresssive neurodegenerative disorder of aging characterized clinically by the loss of memory (especially of recent events), intellect and cognitive functions. The etiology and the pathogenesis of AD is unknown, and there is no effective treatment available. However, some good hypotheses are presently being investigated (see ref. #1–3). These include speculations that AD is caused by: (a) an infectious agent, perhaps a virus; (b) abnormal function of immune system or immunoincompetence; (c) genetic predisposition as in ‘familial’ AD; (d) disturbance of brain biochemistry (neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and/or neurotropic factors); and (e) exposure to toxic substances like aluminum. Current immune studies have shown abnormalities of both cell-mediated and humoral immunity, supporting an immune hypothesis in the pathogenesis of AD or at least in a subset of immune origin (4–6), especially since clinical as well as genetic heterogeneity (7) exists among patients presented with this disease. One possible immune mechanism may involve autoimmunity perhaps secondary to a virus infection (i.e. a humoral immune response to body’s own constituents, specifically brain antigens in the case of AD). Relevant of this hypothesis is a recent observation which showed a temporal link of a unconventional virus infection in AD; this was shown based upon the transmissibility of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD)-like histopathology in the hamsters inoculated intracerebrally with buffy coat cells (white blood cells) of the blood from AD patients (8). This paper describes the rationale for the development of therapy with immunomodulating agents.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Senile Dementia Central Nervous System Cell Antigen Positive Cell Hypothalamic Cell 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijendra K. Singh
    • 1
  • Reed P. Warren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology and DCHPUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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