A hypothesis that a metal-induced immune disorder may be involved in the pathogenesis of some forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is presented. The classical complement pathway is activated in AD and T cells and reactive microglia appear in the brain. Studies of metal induced autoimmunity and the use of compounds containing aluminium as vaccine adjuvants suggest that metals can activate complement and can be taken up by antigen presenting cells. The consequent immune response could contribute to neuronal damage, beta-amyloid deposition and cell death. The strengths and weaknesses of this hypothesis are discussed and tests of some aspects are proposed.
- Alzheimer's disease
- immune activation
- major histocompatability locus antigens