Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Genetic factors, such as rare variants in the microglial-expressed gene TREM2, strongly impact the lifetime risk of developing AD. Several recent studies have described dramatic TREM2-dependent phenotypes in mouse models of amyloidosis that point to an important role for TREM2 in regulating the response of the innate immune system to Aβ pathology. Furthermore, elevations in the CSF levels of soluble TREM2 fragments implicate changes in inflammatory pathways as occurring coincident with markers of neuronal damage and the onset of clinical dementia in AD. Here, we review the rapidly developing literature surrounding TREM2 in AD that may provide novel insight into the broader role of the innate immune system in neurodegenerative disease.
- Alzheimer's disease