A new test might facilitate diagnosis and drug development for Alzheimer's disease

March 23, 2012, IOS Press

An international team of researchers have developed a new method for measurement of aggregated beta-amyloid – a protein complex believed to cause major nerve cell damage and dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. The new method might facilitate diagnosis and detection as well as development of drugs directed against aggregated beta-amyloid.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of memory decline and dementia. According to the Alzheimer World Report 2011, today around 36 million people suffer from Dementia (around 20 - 25 million are Alzheimer's patients). These numbers will dramatically increase with the aging populations over the next few decades. For the year 2050 the expected number of dementia patients will be 115 - 200 million (70 – 150 million Alzheimer's cases). It is therefore important to develop new therapies and diagnostic methods to detect and treat this complex chronic neurodegenerative brain disease.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by aggregates in the brain, containing a protein called beta-amyloid. The neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease has recently been linked to the neurotoxic amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers. The crucial role of Aβ oligomers in the early events of AD is experimentally underlined. Several recent results suggest that those oligomers may cause the death of neurons and neurological dysfunctions relevant to memory. Furthermore Aβ oligomers levels are increased in brain and cerebrospinal fluid samples from people with . This reflects the potential of Aβ oligomers as a marker for the early diagnosis of the disease.

An international team of scientists from Germany, Sweden and the U.S. have used a new method to quantify soluble variants of aggregated (Aβ oligomers) in cerebrospinal fluid by flow cytometry. "We found that patients with a greater number of Aβ oligomers in the cerebrospinal fluid had a more pronounced disease," says Dr. Alexander Navarrete Santos (the developer of this method and now employee of the Research Laboratory of the University of Halle, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery), and first author of the study.

He analyzed the cerebrospinal fluid of 30 neurological patients, including 14 Alzheimer's patients. "These samples provided from leading expert academic memory clinics in Germany and Sweden are of the best quality and are highly characterized in order to provide robust and reliable results on promising novel biomarker candidates", Professor Harald Hampel of Frankfurt University, a lead investigator comments.

"Because of the limited number of samples, however, further study is needed to confirm the results," said Dr. Oskar Hansson of Lund University. The study was an international cooperation with the University of California in the U.S., the Goteborg and Malmö Universities from Sweden and the University of Frankfurt in Germany.

The test might not only be used for the early detection of AD but can also be used when developing new and effective therapies for AD. A decline in the number of Aβ oligomers in cerebrospinal fluids could be a hint for the effectiveness of new drug therapies.

Explore further: New biomarker may help with early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease

More information: Amyloid-β Oligomers in Cerebrospinal Fluid are Associated with Cognitive Decline in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease. Santos AN, Ewers M, Minthon L, Simm A, Silber RE, Blennow K, Prvulovic D, Hansson O, Hampel H. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012 Jan 1;29(1):171-6. Published by IOS Press. PMID: 22214781

Related Stories

New biomarker may help with early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease

June 22, 2011
A new biomarker may help identify which people with mild memory deficits will go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the June 22, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of ...

Advances in research into Alzheimer's disease

July 9, 2011
Advances in research into Alzheimer's disease: transporter proteins at the blood CSF barrier and vitamin D may help prevent amyloid β build up in the brain

Changes seen in cerebrospinal fluid levels before onset of Alzheimer dementia

January 2, 2012
Cerebrospinal fluid levels of Aβ42 appear to be decreased at least five to 10 years before some patients with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia whereas other spinal fluid levels seem to ...

Overlooked peptide reveals clues to causes of Alzheimer's disease

July 3, 2011
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) and their collaborators have shed light on the function of a little-studied amyloid peptide in promoting Alzheimer's disease (AD). Their surprising findings reveal that ...

CSF test can pick up Alzheimer's early

December 20, 2011
Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid can detect whether a person has Alzheimer's disease before symptoms appear. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have studied biomarkers that ...

Recommended for you

Rocky start for Alzheimer's drug research in 2018

January 19, 2018
The year 2018, barely underway, has already dealt a series of disheartening blows to the quest for an Alzheimer's cure.

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's

January 5, 2018
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease - and hence that blocking its spread ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.