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Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2014 Jun 16;2:65. doi: 10.1186/2051-5960-2-65.

Platelets, a reliable source for peripheral Alzheimer's disease biomarkers?

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Institute of Physiology, Centre for Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Schwarzspanierstrasse 17, 1090 Vienna, EU, Austria.


Peripheral biomarkers play an indispensable role in quick and reliable diagnoses of any kind of disease. With the population ageing, the number of people suffering from age-related diseases is expected to rise dramatically over the coming decades. In particular, all types of cognitive deficits, such as Alzheimer's disease, will increase. Alzheimer's disease is characterised mainly by coexistence of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in brain. Reliable identification of such molecular characteristics antemortem, however, is problematic due to restricted availability of appropriate sample material and definitive diagnosis is only possible postmortem. Currently, the best molecular biomarkers available for antemortem diagnosis originate from cerebrospinal fluid. Though, this is not convenient for routine diagnosis because of the required invasive lumbar puncture. As a consequence, there is a growing demand for additional peripheral biomarkers in a more readily accessible sample material. Blood platelets, due to shared biochemical properties with neurons, can constitute an attractive alternative as discussed here. This review summarises potential platelet Alzheimer's disease biomarkers, their role, implication, and alteration in the disease. For easy comparison of their performance, the Hedge effect size was calculated whenever data were available.

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