Background: Microglia, the brain's principal immune cell, are increasingly implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the molecular interfaces through which these cells contribute to amyloid beta (Aβ)-related neurodegeneration are unclear. We recently identified microglial contributions to the homeostatic and disease-associated modulation of perineuronal nets (PNNs), extracellular matrix structures that enwrap and stabilize neuronal synapses, but whether PNNs are altered in AD remains controversial.
The Alzheimer's disease (AD) was discovered and the pathological hallmarks were revealed more than a century ago. Subsequently, many remarkable discoveries and breakthroughs provided us with mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of AD. The identification of the molecular underpinning of the disease not only provided the framework of AD pathogenesis but also targets for therapeutic inventions. Despite all the initial successes, no effective treatment for AD has emerged yet as all the late stage of clinical trials have failed.
Microglia are the predominant immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) that exert key physiological roles required for maintaining CNS homeostasis, notably in response to chronic stress, as well as mediating synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. The repeated exposure to stress confers a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases including sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD).