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Prog Neurobiol. 2011 Dec;95(4):520-34. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 Apr 16.

Biomarker-based dissection of neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, S-431 80 Mölndal, Sweden.


The diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases within neurology and psychiatry are hampered by the difficulty in getting biopsies and thereby validating the diagnosis by pathological findings. Biomarkers for other types of disease have been readily adopted into the clinical practice where for instance troponins are standard tests when myocardial infarction is suspected. However, the use of biomarkers for neurodegeneration has not been fully incorporated into the clinical routine. With the development of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers that reflect pathological events within the central nervous system (CNS), important clinical diagnostic tools are becoming available. This review summarizes the most promising biomarker candidates that may be used to monitor different types of neurodegeneration and protein inclusions, as well as different types of metabolic changes, in living patients in relation to the clinical phenotype and disease progression over time. Our aim is to provide the reader with an updated lexicon on currently available biomarker candidates, how far they have come in development and how well they reflect pathogenic processes in different neurodegenerative diseases. Biomarkers for specific pathogenetic processes would also be valuable tools both to study disease pathogenesis directly in patients and to identify and monitor the effect of novel treatment strategies.

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