Tools for Detecting Neuroinflammation in Neurodegenerative Diseases


This article shows how the root cause of neurodegeneration is identified with a variety of neuroinflammation research tools to detect proinflammatory mediators, aggregated proteins and glia in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Label astrocytes and microglia

Almost all neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's1 contain activated astrocytes and microglia. A versatile range of unconjugated and conjugated glial markers can be easily used to label the astrocytes and microglia.


Anti-Tmem119 antibody [28-3] – microglial marker (ab209064) Immunohistochemistry (IHC-Fr-frozen sections) of mouse corpus callosum stained using anti-tmem119 (ab209064). Tmem119 is a highly specific cell-surface marker of microglia that is not expressed by macrophages or other immune or neural cell types2.

Study aggregated and misfolded proteins

A complex series of interactions occurs between neuroinflammation and misfolded proteins3. The study of misfolded proteins can be improved with near-infrared (NIRF) probes and antibodies against post-translational conformational and modification variants. The following recommendations are provided.


Protein of interest

Recommended products

Amyloid beta (Aß)

  • Image insoluble and soluble Aß with cell permeable and non-toxic near infrared Aß probes
  • Detect structural variants of Aß with conformation-specific amyloid antibodies
  • Neurodegeneration and neurotoxicity can be easily induced with an Aß peptide

Alpha synuclein

  • Aggregated alpha synuclein can be specifically detected with an alpha synuclein filament antibody
  • Lewy body formation can be manipulated with active alpha-synuclein aggregates and monomers


  • Total tau can be easily labeled with anti-Tau [TAU5], which adheres to the unmodified proline rich domain (PRD)
  • Posttranslational modifications of tau can be detected with a complete range of phospho tau antibodies

Detect pro-inflammatory mediators

A chronic inflammatory environment in the brain is a hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 4,5. The role of pro-inflammatory mediators can be easily dissected with matched antibody pairs (MAPs) or fast SimpleStep ELISA® kits. Alternatively, a multiplex approach with FirePlex® immunoassays can be applied.

Single-plex detection

With SimpleStep ELISA kits, results can be obtained in just 90 minutes without compromising on performance.

Product Highlights:

  • Human TNF alpha ELISA Kit (ab181421)
  • Human IL-1 beta ELISA Kit (ab214025)
  • Mouse TNF alpha ELISA Kit (ab208348)
  • Mouse IL-1 beta ELISA Kit (ab197742)

Multiplex detection

With fully customizable multiplex panels, FirePlex® immunoassays enable users to inspect up to 75 analytes per well. Users can build their own panels or choose a pre-designed panel for mouse or human samples.


  1. Doty, K. R., Guillot-Sestier, M.-V. & Town, T. The role of the immune system in neurodegenerative disorders: Adaptive or maladaptive? BRAIN Res. 1617, 155–173 (2015).
  2. Bennetta, M. L. et al. New tools for studying microglia in the mouse and human CNS. Pnas 1525528113- (2016). doi:10.1073/pnas.1525528113
  3. Sweeney, P. et al. Protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases: implications and strategies. Transl. Neurodegener. 6, 6 (2017).
  4. Cameron, B. & Landreth, G. E. Inflammation, microglia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol. Dis. 37, 503–9 (2010).
  5. Wang, Q., Liu, Y. & Zhou, J. Neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s

About Abcam

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Last updated: Jul 14, 2018 at 6:32 PM

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