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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 316495, 6 pages
Review Article

Is There a Causal Link between Inflammation and Dementia?

1Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 8 Eroilor Sanitari, District 5, Bucharest 050474, Romania
2Department of Neurology, Colentina Clinical Hospital (CDPC), School of Medicine, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 19-21 Soseaua Stefan cel Mare, District 2, Bucharest 020125, Romania
3Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, “Victor Babeş” National Institute of Pathology, 99-101 Splaiul Independenţei, District 5, Bucharest 050096, Romania

Received 31 March 2013; Accepted 20 May 2013

Academic Editor: Thomas Van Groen

Copyright © 2013 Ana-Maria Enciu and Bogdan O. Popescu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuroinflammation is a constant event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the current knowledge is insufficient to state whether inflammation is a cause, a promoter, or simply a secondary phenomenon in this inexorably progressive ailment. In the current paper, we review research data showing that inflammation is not a prerequisite for onset of dementia, and, although it may worsen the course of the disease, recent evidence shows that chronic inhibition of inflammatory pathways is not necessarily beneficial for patients. Prospective clinical trials with anti-inflammatory drugs failed to stop disease progression, measurements of inflammatory markers in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients yielded contradictory results, and recent bench research proved undoubtedly that neuroinflammation has a protective side as well. Knockout animal models for TNFRs or ILRs do not seem to prevent the pathology or the cognitive decline, but quite the contrary. In AD, the therapeutic intervention on inflammatory pathways still has a research future, but its targets probably need reevaluation.