Importance of Immunology in Alzheimer’s Research

The immune system is vital for protecting us against pathogens (i.e., diseases and viruses). However, as we age, there are important changes in the immune system, and it can become dysregulated. Some of these changes have been linked to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease; however, we do not fully understand at this point whether inflammation – and immune change more broadly – is a driver of cognitive decline.

In addition, recent studies, including our own work, point to a possibly pivotal role of inflammation in the body as well as the brain. Our lab is working to better understand whether inflammation in the body (usually assessed in blood) is a potent driver of memory changes, or whether inflammation in the brain (usually assessed in spinal fluid) is the main catalyst for decline. We hope to better understand how the body’s immune system interacts with the brain’s immune system and determine whether this affects the aging process.