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Glial Cells – The Key Elements of Alzheimer´s Disease

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


David Dzamba, Lenka Harantova, Olena Butenko and Miroslava Anderova   Pages 894 - 911 ( 18 )


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder with major clinical hallmarks of memory loss, dementia, and cognitive impairment. Besides the extensive neuron-oriented research, an increasing body of evidence suggests that glial cells, namely astrocytes, microglia, NG2 glia and oligodendrocytes, may play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease. In the first part of this review, AD pathophysiology in humans is briefly described and compared with disease progression in routinely used animal models. The relevance of findings obtained in animal models of AD is also discussed with respect to AD pathology in humans. Further, this review summarizes recent findings regarding the role/participation of glial cells in pathogenesis of AD, focusing on changes in their morphology, functions, proteins and gene expression profiles. As for astrocytes and microglia, they are fundamental for the progression and outcome of AD either because they function as effector cells releasing cytokines that play a role in neuroprotection, or because they fail to fulfill their homeostatic functions, ultimately leaving neurons to face excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. Next, we turn our attention towards NG2 glia, a novel and distinct class of glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS), whose role in a variety of human CNS diseases has begun to emerge, and we also consider the participation of oligodendrocytes in the pathogenesis and progression of AD. Since AD is currently an incurable disease, in the last part of our review we hypothesize about possible glia-oriented treatments and provide a perspective of possible future advancements in this field.


Alzheimer´s disease, astrocytes, glial cells, homeostasis, microglia, NG2 glia, oligodendrocytes, therapy.


Department of Cellular Neurophysiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, AS CR, Videnska 1083, 142 00 Prague 4, Czech Republic.

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