Blood-based markers may reveal Alzheimer’s ten years before symptoms appear

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Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before any symptoms, such as memory loss, appear. Therefore, early diagnosis increases the chances of slowing the disease with medication. A new study of an inherited form of the disease suggests that a protein called GFAP may be a biomarker for the very early stages of the disease. The study was carried out by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and is published in the journal Brainmay one day lead to earlier detection of this serious and widespread disease.

“Our results suggest that GFAP, a putative biomarker for immune cells is activated in brainreflects changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease that precede tau protein accumulation and measurable neuronal damage,” said the study’s first author, Charlotte Johansson, PhD student in the Department of “In the future, it could be used as a non-invasive biomarker for early activation,” says Neurobiology, Care and Social Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. immune cells such as astrocytes in the central nervous system, could be valuable for the development of new drugs and the diagnosis of cognitive diseases.”

According to the Swedish Brain Foundation, Alzheimer’s disease causes 60 to 70 percent of dementia cases. In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells in the brain degenerate due to an abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid and tau proteins. When more brain neurons are damaged, this manifests in cognitive dysfunction such as memory and speech.

The disease progresses silently and biological change in the brain started 20 to 25 years ago lost memory and other cognitive symptoms become apparent. The sooner a patient is correctly diagnosed, the sooner the right treatment can be given. This is one of many reasons why more research is needed on easy-to-use, accurate early diagnosis methods.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet and their colleagues at Landspitali University Hospital in Iceland, the University of Gothenburg and University College London in the UK have studied blood biomarkers of very pathological changes early in a rare and inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease in less than 1% of all cases. People whose parents have had Alzheimer’s disease due to the mutation have a 50% chance of developing the disease.

For their study, the researchers analyzed 164 plasma samples from 33 mutation carriers and 42 relatives with no genetic predisposition to the disease. The data was collected from 1994 to 2018.

Their results showed clear changes in certain blood protein levels in mutation carriers.

“The first change that we observed was an increase in GFAP,” said final author Caroline Graff, professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Care and Social Sciences, Karolinska Institutet. (glial fibrous acid protein) about 10 years before the first symptoms appear. “This was followed by an increased concentration of P-tau181 and then NfL (nerve fiber light protein), which we already know is directly related to the degree of neuronal damage in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This finding about GFAP improves the chances early diagnosis.”

More information:
Charlotte Johansson et al., Plasma biomarker profiling in autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease, Brain (2023). DOI: 10.1093/brain/awac399

Journal information:

Provided by
Karolinska Academy

quote: Blood-based markers that can reveal Alzheimer’s ten years before symptoms appear (2023, January 10) retrieved January 10, 2023 from 2023-01-blood-based-markers-reveal-alzheimer-disease .html

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