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CNS Neurosci Ther. 2009 Winter;15(4):358-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2009.00104.x. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Biological marker candidates of Alzheimer's disease in blood, plasma, and serum.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Alzheimer Memorial Center, Munich, Germany.


At the earliest clinical stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD), when first symptoms are mild, making a reliable and accurate diagnosis is difficult. AD related brain pathology and underlying molecular mechanisms precede symptoms. Biological markers can serve as supportive early screening and diagnostic tools as well as indicators of presymptomatic biochemical change. Moreover, biomarkers cover a variety of roles and functions such as disease prediction, indicating disease acuity and progression, and may ensure biological mapping of treatment outcome. Early screening, detection, and diagnosis of AD would permit earlier disease modifying intervention at potentially reversible stages. To date, most established biological markers from both cerebrospinal fluid neurochemistry and structural and functional neuroimaging have not reached widespread clinical application. Crucial remaining problems, such as easy acceptance and application of a test, cost-effectiveness, and noninvasiveness, need to be resolved. The development and validation of precise, reliable, and robust tests and biomarkers in blood, plasma, or serum has therefore been for a long time the ultimate focus of many research groups worldwide. Blood-based testing will most likely be the prerequisite to future sensitive screening of large populations at risk of AD and the baseline in a diagnostic flow approach to AD. The status and emerging perspectives on hypothesis and exploratory-based candidate biomarkers derived from blood, plasma, and serum are reviewed and discussed.

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