Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study suggests blood test for Alzheimer’s possible

12.03.2009
Researchers have revealed a direct relationship between two specific antibodies and the severity of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, raising hopes that a diagnostic blood test for the devastating disorder is within reach.

Researchers from the University of Georgia, the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta and the Medical College of Georgia compared antibody levels in blood samples from 118 older adults with the participant’s level of dementia.

The team, whose results appear in the current edition of Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, found that the concentration of two specific proteins that are involved in the immune response increases as the severity of dementia increases.

“We found a strong and consistent relationship between two particular antibodies and the level of impairment,” said study co-author L. Stephen Miller, professor and director of clinical psychology training in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The finding brings us closer to our ultimate goal of developing a blood test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or potentially identify if someone is at higher risk for the disease.”

Miller’s co-authors include Jennifer S. Wilson, a former undergraduate student in the UGA Honors program who is now pursing graduate studies at Emory University; Shyamala Mruthinti, research pharmacologist at the VA Medical Center and adjunct professor at MCG; and Jerry Buccafusco, director of the MCG Alzheimer’s Research Center. The team focused on antibodies that the body creates in response to two proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One protein, known as amyloid-beta, forms the plaques that are evident in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s upon autopsy. The other protein, known as RAGE, is involved in the normal aging process but is expressed at higher levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

In a previous study that compared a group of people with Alzheimer’s disease to a healthy control group, Mruthinti and her colleagues found that anti-amyloid beta and anti-RAGE antibodies are significantly higher in the group with Alzheimer’s. The team’s latest study expands on that finding to reveal a direct relationship between severity of Alzheimer’s disease and levels of the two antibodies in the blood.

“Alzheimer’s is an inflammatory disease of the brain, and these two antibodies give us a way to measure that inflammation,” Mruthinti said. “Using them as an early diagnostic marker may allow us to start drug treatment early, when it’s most effective, to increase the patient’s quality of life.”

While optimistic about their findings, the researchers caution that it could still be years before a diagnostic test based on their work is clinically available. The study found that the relationship between the two antibodies and Alzheimer’s severity persists even after controlling for patient age and total antibody levels. To further test the strength of the relationship, the researchers are now working with a sample that controls for other factors that have the potential to influence levels of the two antibodies, such as diabetes and heart disease. Buccafusco and his colleagues are also working to decrease the cost and time involved in the test.

“We’re in the process of trying to reduce the test to a one-day procedure, whereas right now it takes three to four days,” Buccafusco said. “But even now, our test is orders of magnitude cheaper than having people come in every few months to get a functional MRI or PET scan to try to discern brain plaques.”

The team is targeting the two proteins themselves as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Mruthinti explains that, individually, amyloid-beta and RAGE proteins don’t provoke an immune response. The trouble begins when the two bind and the immune system attacks, resulting in constant state of inflammation that damages the brain. The researchers recently developed a way to measure levels of amyloid beta-RAGE complex, and preliminary data using transgenic mice that express Alzheimer’s symptoms suggest that an antigen they created to boost the body’s natural immune response to the complex can reduce the formation of the brain plaques.

“The amyloid beta-RAGE complex cuts off the connections between neurons,” Mruthinti explained, “but our hope is that we can protect those connections by preventing those plaques from forming.”

The research was funded by a Merit Review Award from the Veterans Administration to principal investigator Mruthinti and by the Medical College of Georgia Alzheimer’s Research Center.

Sam Fahmy | University of Georgia
Further information:
http://www.uga.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>