The symptoms of Alzheimer disease reflect a loss of neural circuit integrity in the brain, but neurons do not work in isolation. Emerging evidence suggests that the intricate balance of interactions between neurons, astrocytes, microglia and vascular cells required for healthy brain function becomes perturbed during the disease, with early changes likely protecting neural circuits from damage, followed later by harmful effects when the balance cannot be restored. Moving beyond a neuronal focus to understand the complex cellular interactions in Alzheimer disease and how these change throughout the course of the disease may provide important insight into developing effective therapeutics.
Henstridge, C., Hyman, B., & Spires-Jones, T. (2019). Beyond the neuron–cellular interactions early in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 20(2), 94-108. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41583-018-0113-1