This article reviews the literature indicating that the innate immune cells of the brain become more reactive with age. Although it is unclear how glia reactivity increases, emerging evidence suggests these alterations allow exacerbated neuroinflammation and sickness behavior following peripheral immune activation. This amplified or prolonged exposure to inflammatory cytokines in the brain may impair neuronal plasticity and underlie a heightened neuroinflammatory response in the aged that also may lead to other neurobehavioral impairments such as delirium, depression, and, potentially, the onset of neurologic disease. Therefore pharmacologic strategies to decrease neuroinflammation associated with infection may be important for improving recovery from sickness and reducing neurobehavioral deficits in the elderly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology