Cunningham C, Campion S, Lunnon K, Murray CL, Woods JF, Deacon RM, Rawlins JN, Perry VH.
Systemic inflammation induces acute behavioral and cognitive changes and accelerates neurodegenerative disease.
Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Feb 15;65(4):304-12.
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This study in a mouse model of prion disease is an interesting experimental approach to the longstanding question of the relationship between inflammation and neurodegeneration. The authors show that transient, LPS-induced systemic inflammation acutely exacerbates certain prion disease-related behavioral deficits, and that inflammation also promotes the chronic progression of disease-related behavioral impairments. Delirium is an acute, reversible mental disturbance that is quite common in patients with Alzheimer disease. Delirium can be triggered by systemic inflammation, yet, as the authors note, both delirium and the long-term sequelae of acute inflammatory episodes have received relatively little attention experimentally. This issue also has implications for immunological approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer disease.