The initiating cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown. However, from our studies it’s clear that many types of neuronal damage—from traumatic brain injury, to epilepsy, infection, or genetic predisposition—can activate brain immune cells—microglia and astrocytes—prompting them to produce IL-1 and S100 inflammatory cytokines. Initially, activated microglia can help clear dead neurons, but when activated repeatedly, their IL-1 production increases, feeding a cycle of damage-responses, each of which is characteristic of Alzheimer’s, and many of which in turn activate more IL-1 production.
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