Cyclooxygenase and Alzheimer's disease: Implications for preventive initiatives to slow the progression of clinical dementia

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Industry and academia are devoting a tremendous amount of resources to the testing of anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This trend is the result of the growing consensus supporting the inflammatory hypothesis of AD. If anti-inflammatory strategies succeed in slowing the rate of disease progression, the impact on patients and families could be enormous. However, given the large number of candidates in the pool of anti-inflammatory drugs and given their widely divergent activities, it is essential to use methods which optimizes drug selection and study design. Pilot studies of anti-inflammatory regimens are useful in determining tolerability. However, these studies have limited value in estimating effective size since disease-modification, rather than symptomatic improvement, is the ultimate goal. Better understanding of the influence of inflammatory activity and the specific mechanisms which play an early role in the progression of the disease, will improve the likelihood of successfully identifying an effective anti-inflammatory treatment strategy. This review outlines directions in research that address possible contributions of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, COX-1 and other inflammatory mediators to AD neurodegeneration. Finally, this article addresses potential interventions designed to control segments of classical inflammatory cascades in the brain in which cyclooxygenase is highly implicated. These considerations are critical to understand the role of cyclooxygenase in the clinical progression of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Inflammation
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


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