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Mol Neurodegener. 2013 Jun 21;8:20. doi: 10.1186/1750-1326-8-20.

Fluid biomarkers in Alzheimer's disease - current concepts.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg Mölndal, S-431 80, Mölndal, Sweden. christoffer.rosen@neuro.gu.se

Abstract

The diagnostic guidelines of Alzheimer's disease (AD) have recently been updated to include brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, with the aim of increasing the certainty of whether a patient has an ongoing AD neuropathologic process or not. The CSF biomarkers total tau (T-tau), hyperphosphorylated tau (P-tau) and the 42 amino acid isoform of amyloid β (Aβ42) reflect the core pathologic features of AD, which are neuronal loss, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular senile plaques. Since the pathologic processes of AD start decades before the first symptoms, these biomarkers may provide means of early disease detection. The updated guidelines identify three different stages of AD: preclinical AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD and AD with dementia. In this review, we aim to summarize the CSF biomarker data available for each of these stages. We also review results from blood biomarker studies. In summary, the core AD CSF biomarkers have high diagnostic accuracy both for AD with dementia and to predict incipient AD (MCI due to AD). Longitudinal studies on healthy elderly and recent cross-sectional studies on patients with dominantly inherited AD mutations have also found biomarker changes in cognitively normal at-risk individuals. This will be important if disease-modifying treatment becomes available, given that treatment will probably be most effective early in the disease. An important prerequisite for this is trustworthy analyses. Since measurements vary between studies and laboratories, standardization of analytical as well as pre-analytical procedures will be essential. This process is already initiated. Apart from filling diagnostic roles, biomarkers may also be utilized for prognosis, disease progression, development of new treatments, monitoring treatment effects and for increasing the knowledge about pathologic processes coupled to the disease. Hence, the search for new biomarkers continues. Several candidate biomarkers have been found in CSF, and although biomarkers in blood have been harder to find, some recent studies have presented encouraging results. But before drawing any major conclusions, these results need to be verified in independent studies.

PMID:
23800368
PMCID:
PMC3691925
DOI:
10.1186/1750-1326-8-20
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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