Promising discovery for a non-invasive early detection of Alzheimer's disease

December 22, 2016, IOS Press
Showing brain regions in which gray matter intensity correlates significantly with HMW/LMW tau ratio in AD patients. Credit: : Dr. Ricardo B. Maccioni

A discovery of high relevance in medical research will be published in Volume 55, number 4 of December 2016 of the prestigious "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD)", entitled "Tau Platelets Correlate with Regional Brain Atrophy in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease". This paper has been highlighted as one of the most important contribution to this field. The paper stems from a fruitful collaboration between the neuroscience laboratory from the International Center for Biomedicine (ICC) under the leadership of Dr. Ricardo Maccioni and the research teams of Drs. Andrea Slachevsky, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, together with Drs. Oscar Lopez and James Becker from University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, USA.

Drs. Maccioni and Farías have pioneered the technology that detects in human blood platelets the pathological oligomeric forms of brain tau protein in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. More importantly, the ratio between this anomalous tau and the normal tau protein can discriminate AD patients from normal controls, and are associated with decreased cognitive impairment. These studies open a new avenue in the development of highly sensitive and efficient biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders. The fact that pathological forms of tau proteins in platelets correlated with decreased brain volume in areas known to be associated with AD pathology in the brain is one step forward for the use of peripheral biomarkers, not only for clinical purposes, but also for research studies oriented to understand the complexity of AD pathology.

This article, highlighted by JAD, proved that the relationship between the pathological and normal variants of tau were associated with the reduction of cerebral volume in key structures linked with the disease. These structures included the left medial and right anterior cingulate gyri, right cerebellum, right thalamus (pulvinar), left frontal cortex, and right parahippocampal region, in agreement with MRI neuroimaging approaches. In addition to the enormous utility of this non-invasive technology for the detection and progression of AD, the use of a tau biomarker could lead to the identification of AD pathology before the clinical symptoms are evident, and it could play an essential role in the development of preventive therapies. Moreover, the determination of peripheral tau markers in platelets can contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiology of multiple neurodegenerative processes where play a critical role.

High molecular weight tau bands (about 80kDa) can be appreciated, with greater immunoreactivity in patients with AD compared with healthy subjects. Credit: Dr. Ricardo B. Maccioni

Explore further: More human-like model of Alzheimer's better mirrors tangles in the brain

More information: Andrea Slachevsky et al, Tau Platelets Correlate with Regional Brain Atrophy in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (2016). DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160652

Related Stories

More human-like model of Alzheimer's better mirrors tangles in the brain

November 16, 2016
Tangled up brain fibrils made up of a rogue protein known as tau are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that likely hold the key to treatments, making them of great interest to researchers. Mimicking the formation and ...

Different brain atrophy patterns may explain variability in Alzheimers disease symptoms

October 7, 2016
Mathematical modeling of the brain scans of patients with Alzheimer's disease and others at risk for the devastating neurodegenerative disorder has identified specific patterns of brain atrophy that appear to be related to ...

Using tau imaging as diagnostic marker for Alzheimer disease

July 25, 2016
The accumulation of β-Amyloid (Αβ) and tau proteins in the brain is hallmark pathology for Alzheimer disease. Recently developed positron emission tomography (PET) tracers, including [18F]-AV-1451, bind to tau in neurofibrillary ...

Structure of toxic tau aggregates determines type of dementia, rate of progression

October 28, 2016
The distinct structures of toxic protein aggregates that form in degenerating brains determine which type of dementia will occur, which regions of brain will be affected, and how quickly the disease will spread, according ...

Progranulin and dementia—a blood sample does not tell the full story!

May 26, 2016
Progranulin is a central protein in both neuronal survival and neurodegenerative diseases. It is thus not surprising that altered progranulin levels represent a universal theme shared across several common neurodegenerative ...

Why do some people with Alzheimer's disease die without cognitive impairment?

April 24, 2014
Since the time of Dr. Alois Alzheimer himself, two proteins (beta-amyloid (Aβ) and tau) have become tantamount to Alzheimer's disease (AD). But a Mayo Clinic study challenges the perception that these are the only important ...

Recommended for you

Neurons with good housekeeping are protected from Alzheimer's

December 17, 2018
Some neurons in the brain protect themselves from Alzheimer's with a cellular cleaning system that sweeps away toxic proteins associated with the disease, according to a new study from Columbia University and the University ...

Growing a brain: Two-step control mechanism identified in mouse stem cells

December 17, 2018
Scientists have identified two distinct control mechanisms in the developmental transition of undifferentiated stem cells into healthy brain cells. This fundamental research using mice may inform regenerative medicine treatments ...

Does diabetes damage brain health?

December 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—Diabetes has been tied to a number of complications such as kidney disease, but new research has found that older people with type 2 diabetes can also have more difficulties with thinking and memory.

Amyloid pathology transmission in lab mice and historic medical treatments

December 13, 2018
A UCL-led study has confirmed that some vials of a hormone used in discontinued medical treatments contained seeds of a protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease, and are able to seed amyloid pathology in mice.

Study links slowed brainwaves to early signs of dementia

December 13, 2018
To turn back the clock on Alzheimer's disease, many researchers are seeking ways to effectively diagnose the neurodegenerative disorder earlier.

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

December 11, 2018
Scientists who recently identified the molecular start of Alzheimer's disease have used that finding to determine that it should be possible to forecast which type of dementia will develop over time—a form of personalized ...

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.