Infographic: The Cytokine Cycle
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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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