When the body is under attack by germs or following an injury, inflammation can be a beneficial reaction in order to heal itself. Inflammation represents the first step in the healing process, ushering in white blood cells to clean up after the invaders have been destroyed.
Distinguished from this inflammatory response is what is considered low level chronic inflammation which can be triggered by cellular stress and dysfunction, such as that caused by excessive calorie consumption, elevated blood sugar levels, and oxidative stress. Chronic, low-level inflammation is has silent and destructive powers in the body.
Chronic inflammation has been linked with many age-related, lifespan-shortening disorders, including heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and others.
There are a number of studies that indicate a direct correlation with chronic low-level inflammation in older adults to cognitive decline and dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [i]
Markers and mediators of Inflammation
There are a number of recognized inflammatory markers that are used to indicate potential neuroinflammation. These inflammatory markers can be elevated before the onset of cognitive dysfunction.
Following are the eight (8) inflammatory markers that are commonly used in prognosis of inflammation and neuroinflammation:
- Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)
- Nuclear Factor-Kappa B (NF-Kappa B or NF-κB)
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- High-mobility group protein 1 (HMG-1)
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