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Promising Discovery For A Non-Invasive Early Detection of Alzheimer’s

Summary: A new paper details a technology that can detect pathological oligomeric forms of tau in Alzheimer’s patients through human blood platelets.

Source: IOS Press.

A discovery of high relevance in medical research will be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 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 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.

Image shows brain scans.

Showing brain regions in which gray matter intensity correlates significantly with HMW/LMW tau ratio in AD patients. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Dr. Ricardo B. Maccioni.

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 tau proteins play a critical role.

About this Alzheimer’s disease research article

Source: Dr. Ricardo B. Maccioni – IOS Press
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to IOS Press.
Original Research: Abstract for “Tau Platelets Correlate with Regional Brain Atrophy in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease” by Slachevsky, Andrea; Guzmán-Martínez, Leonardo; Delgado, Carolina; Reyes, Pablo; Farías, Gonzalo A.; Muñoz-Neira, Carlos; Bravo, Eduardo; Farías, Mauricio; Flores, Patricia; Garrido, Cristian; Becker, James T.; López, Oscar L.; and Maccioni, Ricardo B. in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Published online December 22 2016 doi:10.3233/JAD-160652

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
IOS Press “Promising Discovery For A Non-Invasive Early Detection of Alzheimer’s.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 22 December 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-tau-platelets-5797/>.
IOS Press (2016, December 22). Promising Discovery For A Non-Invasive Early Detection of Alzheimer’s. NeuroscienceNew. Retrieved December 22, 2016 from http://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-tau-platelets-5797/
IOS Press “Promising Discovery For A Non-Invasive Early Detection of Alzheimer’s.” http://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-tau-platelets-5797/ (accessed December 22, 2016).

Abstract

Tau Platelets Correlate with Regional Brain Atrophy in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Background: Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles are part of the core pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which are mainly composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine whether high molecular weight (HMW) or low molecular weight (LMW) tau protein levels, as well as the ratio HMW/LMW, present in platelets correlates with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) structural changes in normal and cognitively impaired subjects.

Methods: We examined 53 AD patients and 37 cognitively normal subjects recruited from two Memory Clinics at the Universidad de Chile. Tau levels in platelets were determined by immunoreactivity and the MRI scans were analyzed using voxel-based morphometry in 41 AD patients.

Results: The HMW/LMW tau ratio was statistically different between controls and AD patients, and no associations were noted between HMW or LMW tau and MRI structures. In a multivariate analysis controlled for age and education level, the HMW/LMW tau ratio was associated with reduced volume in the left medial and right anterior cingulate gyri, right cerebellum, right thalamus (pulvinar), left frontal cortex, and right parahippocampal region.

Conclusions: This exploratory study showed that HMW/LMW tau ratio is significantly higher in AD patients than control subjects, and that it is associated with specific brain regions atrophy. Determination of peripheral markers of AD pathology can help understanding the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration in AD.

“Tau Platelets Correlate with Regional Brain Atrophy in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease” by Slachevsky, Andrea; Guzmán-Martínez, Leonardo; Delgado, Carolina; Reyes, Pablo; Farías, Gonzalo A.; Muñoz-Neira, Carlos; Bravo, Eduardo; Farías, Mauricio; Flores, Patricia; Garrido, Cristian; Becker, James T.; López, Oscar L.; and Maccioni, Ricardo B. in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Published online December 22 2016 doi:10.3233/JAD-160652

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