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Research project

Understanding the role of early-life inflammation on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease

Project overview

Our immune response is usually a defensive mechanism, although it is well known that in people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), concomitant inflammation accelerates and exacerbates the disease. This is mediated by the brain’s main resident macrophage population, the microglia, which react to the onset of disease by increasing their number and switching to an activated state. In AD, microglia are “primed” by the pathology, showing an exacerbated response to subsequent systemic inflammation. A gap our knowledge, however, concerns how early-life pre-conditioning of microglia could influence the onset of AD. We will investigate the effect of repeated inflammatory challenges in early life, representing those frequently present in the human life course (bacterial or viral infections, stress, obesity), on the severity of AD-like pathology. This project will allow understanding the mechanisms that regulate the contribution of microglia to AD, supporting future preventative approaches to delay the onset of clinical symptoms.


Lead researcher

Professor Diego Gomez-Nicola PhD


Research interests

  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurodevelopment
Connect with Diego

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

Monica Guerrero-Carrasco, Imogen Louisa Targett, Adrian Olmos-Alonso, Mariana Vargas-Caballero & Diego Gomez-Nicola, 2024, GLIA
Type: article