Alzheimer’s disease: ‘The infection hypothesis’

Written by Robert D. Moir and Rudolph E. Tanzi (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, MA, USA)

An association between chronic infection and amyloidosis, including β-amyloid deposition in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) [1], has been recognized for almost a century [2]. However, since the discovery in the mid 1980’s that the pathological hallmark of AD, β-amyloid plaques, are generated from neurotoxic amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) the suggestion of infection as an etiology factor in AD has most often been met with skepticism. Nevertheless, recent findings such as the report by Pisa et al. [3] of fungi in the brains of AD patients have prompted a renewed interest in the ‘infection hypothesis’ of Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to the decades long...

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