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Infection and Dementia (Version 1.0)

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Neutrophil derived microvesicles: linking systemic inflammation and dementia.



  • Contact name

    Daniel J Blackburn

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

  • Identifier

    STH sponsor R&D registration number, STH20325

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 8 months, 31 days

  • Research summary

    Many carers of people with dementia often notice that symptoms get worse following an infection. This suggests that systemic inflammation (inflammation in the body resulting from infection or injury) has direct effects on brain function and accelerates dementia. Systemic inflammation is associated with a large increase in the number of circulating neutrophils, which are the most abundant white blood cell. Neutrophils produce large numbers of small pouch-like vesicles which impact the function of blood vessels in the body. Endothelial cells lining blood vessels in the brain are normally very tightly linked together but in Alzheimer’s disease they become leaky, allowing the movement of damaging substances into the brain. Our research has shown that the vesicles produced by neutrophils enter human brain endothelial cells, affecting their leakiness, and that they contain small molecules which are able to control gene expression. We plan to recruit healthy control and patients with dementia to compare the levels of neutrophil-derived vesicles in their blood, and to develop a robust method to examine the content of these vesicles. Understanding how systemic inflammation contributes to dementia is essential to identify new therapeutic treatments.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 5

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    21 May 2018

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion