Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New blood test for Alzheimer’s developed

23.04.2020

A new blood test for Alzheimer’s disease has been developed under the leadership of researchers at the University of Gothenburg. The method is based on measuring a specific variant of tau protein in ordinary blood samples, which makes the test relatively simple and cheap to perform.

The research behind the test was headed by Kaj Blennow, Professor of Clinical Neurochemistry, and Henrik Zetterberg, Professor of Neurochemistry, at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The results are published in an article in The Lancet Neurology.


Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by two pathological changes in the tissue of the nervous system. One is the formation of extracellular clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid.

The other is neurofibrils, composed of tau protein, that have stuck together in tiny lesions (“neurofibrillary tangles”) in the brain neurons through a biochemical process known as phosphorylation.

The newly developed method is based on measurement of phosphorylated tau — specifically, the P-tau181 variant — in ordinary blood samples, performed with an ultrasensitive method known as Single Molecule Array (Simoa). Simoa can measure considerably lower levels of protein biomarkers than other analytical methods.

High sensitivity and precision

P-tau181 has long been measurable through testing of cerebrospinal fluid, in which it is found at a considerably higher level than in blood samples. For the past few years, it has also been possible to demonstrate neurofibrils by using the advanced positron emission tomography (PET) medical imaging technique. Tests of cerebrospinal fluid are, however, difficult to perform in primary care, and the high costs of PET scans restrict their use. Being able to establish tau pathology through ordinary blood tests will therefore be highly valuable.

The results now published show that the level of P-tau181 is greatly elevated in Alzheimer’s, including at its early stage, known as mild cognitive impairment. However, this raised level was found only in the patients who also had amyloid plaques, as revealed by the PET camera.

The level of specific P-tau181 in blood plasma also proved to correspond very closely with the level of tau tangles in the brain registered with the PET-technique. The blood test also identified people early on in the course of the disease who had plaques, but in whom the PET technique discerned no increased tau levels.

The blood test showed a very good capacity to distinguish Alzheimer’s from other brain diseases, such as frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease, where the blood level of P-tau181 was entirely normal.

Future screening in primary care

The blood test developed at the University of Gothenburg produces results similar to those from the blood test that was developed at the U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Results from the latter were recently published in Nature Medicine, with Kaj Blennow and Henrik Zetterberg as coauthors.

“We believe that, in the future, one very important use of our blood test will be for screening in primary care. We demonstrated this in one of the studies forming part of our article, in which we looked at patients in primary care with concerns about their failing memory,” Blennow says.

“We also think the level of P-tau181 in blood plasma may be a very important marker to show and monitor the efficacy of the new drugs against Alzheimer’s that are currently being developed,” says Henrik Zetterberg.

Title: Blood phosphorylated tau 181 as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease: a diagnostic performance and prediction modelling study using data from four prospective cohorts (The Lancet Neurology)

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Contact:

Kaj Blennow, +46 (0)761 073 835

Henrik Zetterberg, +46 (0)768 672 647

Originalpublikation:

Previous studies:

Plasma P-tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease: relationship to other biomarkers, differential diagnosis, neuropathology and longitudinal progression to Alzheimer’s dementia (Nature Medicine)

Diagnostic value of plasma phosphorylated tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (Nature Medicine)

Margareta G. Kubista, press@sahlgrenska.gu.se | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding
10.07.2020 | The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

nachricht Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes
10.07.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

X-ray scattering shines light on protein folding

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Looking at linkers helps to join the dots

10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Surprisingly many peculiar long introns found in brain genes

10.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>