There is now a large body of evidence linking inflammation to Alzheimer's disease (AD). This association manifests itself neuropathologically in the presence of activated microglia and astrocytes around neuritic plaques and increased levels of inflammatory mediators in the brains of AD patients. It is considered that amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), which is derived from the processing of the longer amyloid precursor protein (APP), could be the most important stimulator of this response, and therefore determining the role of the different secretases involved in its generation is essential for a better understanding of the regulation of inflammation in AD. The finding that certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can affect the processing of APP by inhibiting β- and γ-secretases, together with recent revelations that these enzymes may be regulated by inflammation, suggest that they could be an interesting target for anti-inflammatory drugs. In this review we will discuss some of these issues and the role of the secretases in inflammation, independent of their effect on Aβ formation.
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