Alterations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau and β–amyloid peptide 1–42 (Aβ42) levels and rates of cerebral glucose (CMRglu) on fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) occur years before clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) become manifest, but their relationship remains unclear.
To determine whether CSF AD biomarker levels and CMRglu in healthy individuals correlate in brain structures affected early in AD.
Alzheimer’s disease research center.
Twenty individuals without dementia, aged 46 to 83 years.
Lumbar CSF sampling and FDG-PET imaging of CMRglu. The CSF Aβ42, tau, and tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (p–tau181) levels were measured using immunobead–based multiplex assays.
Main Outcome Measures
Correlations between CMRglu and CSF biomarker levels were analyzed via voxel–based and volume–of–interest approaches.
Voxel–based analyses demonstrated significant negative correlations between CSF tau and p–tau181 levels and CMRglu in the posterior cingulate, precuneus, and parahippocampal regions. In contrast, a limited positive correlation was found between CSF Aβ42 levels and CMRglu in the inferior temporal cortex. Volume–of–interest analyses confirmed negative associations between CSF tau and p–tau181 levels and CMRglu in the parietal and medial parietal lobes and a positive association between CSF Aβ42 levels and CMRglu in the parahippocampal gyrus.
In healthy individuals, higher CSF tau and p–tau181 concentrations were associated with more severe hypometabolism in several brain regions affected very early in AD, whereas lower CSF Aβ42 concentrations were associated with hypometabolism only in the medial temporal lobe. This suggests that early tau and Aβ abnormalities may be associated with subtle synaptic changes in brain regions vulnerable to AD. A longitudinal assessment of CSF and FDG–PET biomarkers is needed to determine whether these changes predict cognitive impairment and incipient AD.
Advances in our understanding of tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are moving this disease pathway to center stage for the development of biomarkers and disease modifying drug discovery efforts. Immunoassays were developed detecting total (ttau) and tau phosphorylated at specific epitopes (p-tauX) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), methods to analyse tau in blood are at the experimental beginning. Clinical research consistently demonstrated CSF t- and p-tau increased in AD compared to controls. Measuring these tau species proved informative for classifying AD from relevant differential diagnoses. Tau phosphorylated at threonine 231 (p-tau231) differentiated between AD and frontotemporal dementia, tau phosphorylated at serine 181 (p-tau181) enhanced classification between AD and dementia with Lewy bodies. T- and p-tau are considered “core” AD biomarkers that have been successfully validated by controlled large-scale multi-center studies. Tau biomarkers are implemented in clinical trials to reflect biological activity, mechanisms of action of compounds, support enrichment of target populations, provide endpoints for proof-of-concept and confirmatory trials on disease modification. World-wide quality control initiatives are underway to set required methodological and protocol standards. Discussions with regulatory authorities gain momentum defining the role of tau biomarkers for trial designs and how they may be further qualified for surrogate marker status.
Alzheimer's disease; MCI; neurodegeneration; biomarker; prediction; diagnosis; blood; CSF; tau; p-tau
The default mode network (DMN) is particularly relevant to Alzheimer's disease (AD) since its structures are vulnerable to deposition of amyloid. Decreased levels of β-amyloid1-42 (Aβ42) and increased total tau protein (T-tau) and tau phosphorylated at position threonine 181 (P-tau181p) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been established as valid biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of AD. However, the relationship between CSF biomarkers and change in the DMN is still unknown. In this study we investigated the correlation between the functional connectivity within the DMN and the ratio of Aβ42/P-tau181p in the CSF. We found that the ratio of Aβ42/P-tau181p was moderately positively correlated with the functional connectivity within the DMN in the left precuneus/cuneus. This finding implicates that the brain functional connectivity within DMN is affected by pathological changes at early stage in AD. This may provide a better understanding of AD pathology progression and improve AD diagnosis.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are currently being considered for inclusion in revised diagnostic criteria for research and/or clinical purposes to increase the certainty of ante-mortem diagnosis. Establishing biomarker validity requires demonstration that the assays are true markers of underlying disease pathology (e.g., amyloid plaques and/or neurofibrillary tangles) in living individuals.
We compared the performances of the two most commonly used platforms, INNOTEST® ELISA and INNO-BIA AlzBio3 for measurement of CSF amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau(s), for identifying the presence of amyloid plaques in a research cohort (n=103). Values obtained for CSF Aβ1-42, total tau and phosphorylated tau181 (p-tau181) using the two assay platforms were compared to brain amyloid load as assessed by positron emission tomography using the amyloid imaging agent, Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB).
Research volunteers who are cognitively normal or have very mild to moderate AD dementia.
The two assay platforms yielded different (~2–6-fold) absolute values for the various analytes, but relative values were highly correlated. CSF Aβ1-42 correlated inversely, and tau and p-tau181 correlated positively, with the amount of cortical PIB binding, albeit to differing degrees. Both assays yielded similar patterns of CSF biomarker correlations with amyloid load. The ratios of total tau/Aβ1-42 and p-tau181/Aβ1-42 outperformed any single analyte, including Aβ1-2, in discriminating individuals with versus without cortical amyloid.
The INNOTEST® and INNO-BIA CSF platforms performed equally well in identifying individuals with underlying amyloid plaque pathology. Differences in absolute values, however, point to the need for assay-specific diagnostic cut-point values.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; biomarkers; cerebrospinal fluid; imaging (PET, MRI) in dementias; Pittsburgh Compound B
Clinicopathological studies suggest that Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology begins ∼10–15 years before the resulting cognitive impairment draws medical attention. Biomarkers that can detect AD pathology in its early stages and predict dementia onset would, therefore, be invaluable for patient care and efficient clinical trial design. We utilized a targeted proteomics approach to discover novel cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers that can augment the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of current leading CSF biomarkers (Aβ42, tau, p-tau181).
Methods and Findings
Using a multiplexed Luminex platform, 190 analytes were measured in 333 CSF samples from cognitively normal (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] 0), very mildly demented (CDR 0.5), and mildly demented (CDR 1) individuals. Mean levels of 37 analytes (12 after Bonferroni correction) were found to differ between CDR 0 and CDR>0 groups. Receiver-operating characteristic curve analyses revealed that small combinations of a subset of these markers (cystatin C, VEGF, TRAIL-R3, PAI-1, PP, NT-proBNP, MMP-10, MIF, GRO-α, fibrinogen, FAS, eotaxin-3) enhanced the ability of the best-performing established CSF biomarker, the tau/Aβ42 ratio, to discriminate CDR>0 from CDR 0 individuals. Multiple machine learning algorithms likewise showed that the novel biomarker panels improved the diagnostic performance of the current leading biomarkers. Importantly, most of the markers that best discriminated CDR 0 from CDR>0 individuals in the more targeted ROC analyses were also identified as top predictors in the machine learning models, reconfirming their potential as biomarkers for early-stage AD. Cox proportional hazards models demonstrated that an optimal panel of markers for predicting risk of developing cognitive impairment (CDR 0 to CDR>0 conversion) consisted of calbindin, Aβ42, and age.
Using a targeted proteomic screen, we identified novel candidate biomarkers that complement the best current CSF biomarkers for distinguishing very mildly/mildly demented from cognitively normal individuals. Additionally, we identified a novel biomarker (calbindin) with significant prognostic potential.
Previously it was reported that Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients have reduced amyloid (Aβ1-42) and elevated total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau181p) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), suggesting that these same measures could be used to detect early AD pathology in healthy elderly (CN) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that there would be an association among rates of regional brain atrophy, the CSF biomarkers Aβ1-42, t-tau, and p-tau181p and ApoE ε4 status, and that the pattern of this association would be diagnosis specific. Our findings primarily showed that lower CSF Aβ1-42 and higher tau concentrations were associated with increased rates of regional brain tissue loss and the patterns varied across the clinical groups. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that CSF biomarker concentrations are associated with the characteristic patterns of structural brain changes in CN and MCI that resemble to a large extent the pathology seen in AD. Therefore, the finding of faster progression of brain atrophy in the presence of lower Aβ1-42 levels and higher p-tau levels supports the hypothesis that CSF Aβ1-42 and tau are measures of early AD pathology. Moreover, the relationship among CSF biomarkers, ApoE ε4 status, and brain atrophy rates are regionally varying, supporting the view that the genetic predisposition of the brain to amyloid and tau mediated pathology is regional and disease stage specific.
MRI; Alzheimer's disease; cerebrospinal fluid; biomarkers; cortical thickness; atrophy; brain tissue volume; ApoE
Develop a cerebrospinal fluid biomarker signature for mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) subjects.
Amyloid-β 1 to 42 peptide (Aβ1-42), total tau (t-tau), and tau phosphorylated at the threonine 181 were measured in (1) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples obtained during baseline evaluation of 100 mild AD, 196 mild cognitive impairment, and 114 elderly cognitively normal (NC) subjects in ADNI; and (2) independent 56 autopsy-confirmed AD cases and 52 age-matched elderly NCs using a multiplex immunoassay. Detection of an AD CSF profile for t-tau and Aβ1-42 in ADNI subjects was achieved using receiver operating characteristic cut points and logistic regression models derived from the autopsy-confirmed CSF data.
CSF Aβ1-42 was the most sensitive biomarker for AD in the autopsy cohort of CSF samples: receiver operating characteristic area under the curve of 0.913 and sensitivity for AD detection of 96.4%. In the ADNI cohort, a logistic regression model for Aβ1-42, t-tau, and APOε4 allele count provided the best assessment delineation of mild AD. An AD-like baseline CSF profile for t-tau/Aβ1-42 was detected in 33 of 37 ADNI mild cognitive impairment subjects who converted to probable AD during the first year of the study.
The CSF biomarker signature of AD defined by Aβ1-42 and t-tau in the autopsy-confirmed AD cohort and confirmed in the cohort followed in ADNI for 12 months detects mild AD in a large, multisite, prospective clinical investigation, and this signature appears to predict conversion from mild cognitive impairment to AD.
The close correlation between abnormally low pre-mortem cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of amyloid-β1-42 (Aβ1–42) and plaque burden measured by amyloid imaging as well as between pathologically increased levels of CSF tau and the extent of neurode-generation measured by MRI has led to growing interest in using these biomarkers to predict the presence of AD plaque and tangle pathology. A challenge for the wide-spread use of these CSF biomarkers is the high variability in the assays used to measure these analytes which has been ascribed to multiple pre-analytical and analytical test performance factors. To address this challenge, we conducted a seven-center inter-laboratory standardization study for CSF total tau (t-tau), phospho-tau (p-tau181) and Aβ1–42 as part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Aliquots prepared from five CSF pools assembled from multiple elderly controls (n = 3) and AD patients (n = 2) were the primary test samples analyzed in each of three analytical runs by the participating laboratories using a common batch of research use only immunoassay reagents (INNO-BIA AlzBio3, xMAP technology, from Innogenetics) on the Luminex analytical platform. To account for the combined effects on overall precision of CSF samples (fixed effect), different laboratories and analytical runs (random effects), these data were analyzed by mixed-effects modeling with the following results: within center %CV 95% CI values (mean) of 4.0–6.0% (5.3%) for CSF Aβ1–42; 6.4–6.8% (6.7%) for t-tau and 5.5–18.0% (10.8%) for p-tau181 and inter-center %CV 95% CI range of 15.9–19.8% (17.9%) for Aβ1–42, 9.6–15.2% (13.1%) for t-tau and 11.3–18.2% (14.6%) for p-tau181. Long-term experience by the ADNI biomarker core laboratory replicated this degree of within-center precision. Diagnostic threshold CSF concentrations for Aβ1–42 and for the ratio t-tau/Aβ1–42 were determined in an ADNI independent, autopsy-confirmed AD cohort from whom ante-mortem CSF was obtained, and a clinically defined group of cognitively normal controls (NCs) provides statistically significant separation of those who progressed from MCI to AD in the ADNI study. These data suggest that interrogation of ante-mortem CSF in cognitively impaired individuals to determine levels of t-tau, p-tau181 and Aβ1–42, together with MRI and amyloid imaging biomarkers, could replace autopsy confirmation of AD plaque and tangle pathology as the “gold standard” for the diagnosis of definite AD in the near future.
Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative; Cerebrospinal fluid; Amyloid-β1-42; Total tau; p-tau181; Interlaboratory study; Mixed-effects modeling
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measures of Ab and tau, Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) imaging and hippocampal atrophy are promising Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers yet the associations between them are not known. We applied a validated, automated hippocampal labeling method and 3D radial distance mapping to the 1.5T structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of 388 ADNI subjects with baseline CSF Ab42, total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau181) and 98 subjects with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using PIB. We used linear regression to investigate associations between hippocampal atrophy and average cortical, parietal and precuneal PIB standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) and CSF Ab42, t-tau, p-tau181, t-tau/Ab42 and p-tau181/Ab42. All CSF measures showed significant associations with hippocampal volume and radial distance in the pooled sample. Strongest correlations were seen for p-tau181, followed by p-tau181/Ab42 ratio, t-tau/Ab42 ratio, t-tau and Ab42. p-tau181 showed stronger correlation in ApoE4 carriers, while t-tau showed stronger correlation in ApoE4 noncarriers. Of the 3 PIB measures the precuneal SUVR showed strongest associations with hippocampal atrophy.
Alzheimer’s disease; MRI; Magnetic resonance imaging; Imaging; PIB; Amyloid imaging; Abeta; tau; Hippocampus; Atrophy; Biomarkers; ADNI
In order for therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) to have the greatest impact, it will likely be necessary to treat individuals in the “preclinical” (presymptomatic) stage. Fluid and neuroimaging measures are being explored as possible biomarkers of AD pathology that could aid in identifying individuals in this stage in order to target them for clinical trials and to direct and monitor therapy. The objective of this study was to determine if cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for AD suggest the presence of brain damage in the preclinical stage of AD.
We investigated the relationship between structural neuroimaging measures (whole brain volume) and levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) amyloid-β (Aβ)40, Aβ42, tau, and phosphorylated tau181 (ptau181), and plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 in well-characterized research subjects with very mild and mild dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT; n=29) and age-matched, cognitively normal controls (n=69).
Levels of CSF tau and ptau181, but not Aβ42, correlated inversely with whole brain volume in very mild/mild DAT, whereas levels of CSF Aβ42, but not tau or ptau181, was positively correlated with whole brain volume in non-demented controls.
Reduction in CSF Aβ42, likely reflecting Aβ aggregation in the brain, is associated with brain atrophy in the preclinical phase of AD. This suggests that there is toxicity associated with Aβ aggregation prior to the onset of clinically detectable disease. Increases in CSF tau (and ptau181) are later events that correlate with further structural damage and occur with clinical onset and progression.
Alzheimer's disease; amyloid-β; biomarker; brain atrophy; cerebrospinal fluid; MRI; preclinical AD; tau
Reduced levels of β-amyloid1-42 (Aβ1-42) and increased levels of tau proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are found in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), likely reflecting Aβ deposition in plaques and neuronal and axonal damage. It is not known whether these biomarkers are associated with brain atrophy also in healthy aging. We tested the relationship between CSF levels of Aβ1-42 and tau (total tau and tau phosphorylated at threonine 181) proteins and 1-year brain atrophy in 71 cognitively normal elderly individuals. Results showed that under a certain threshold value, levels of Aβ1-42 correlated highly with 1-year change in a wide range of brain areas. The strongest relationships were not found in the regions most vulnerable early in AD. Above the threshold level, Aβ1-42 was not related to brain changes, but significant volume reductions as well as ventricular expansion were still seen. It is concluded that Aβ1-42 correlates with brain atrophy and ventricular expansion in a subgroup of cognitively normal elderly individuals but that reductions independent of CSF levels of Aβ1-42 is common. Further research and follow-up examinations over several years are needed to test whether degenerative pathology will eventually develop in the group of cognitively normal elderly individuals with low levels of Aβ1-42.
aging; amyloid; cerebral cortex; CSF biomarkers; MRI
Altered levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) peptides related to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are associated with pathologic AD diagnosis, although cognitively normal subjects can also have abnormal levels of these AD biomarkers. To identify novel CSF biomarkers that distinguish pathologically confirmed AD from cognitively normal subjects and patients with other neurodegenerative disorders, we collected antemortem CSF samples from 66 AD patients and 25 patients with other neurodegenerative dementias followed longitudinally to neuropathologic confirmation, plus CSF from 33 cognitively normal subjects. We measured levels of 151 novel analytes via a targeted multiplex panel enriched in cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, as well as established AD CSF biomarkers (levels of Aβ42, tau and p-tau181). Two categories of biomarkers were identified: (1) analytes that specifically distinguished AD (especially CSF Aβ42 levels) from cognitively normal subjects and other disorders; and (2) analytes altered in multiple diseases (NrCAM, PDGF, C3, IL-1α), but not in cognitively normal subjects. A multiprong analytical approach showed AD patients were best distinguished from non-AD cases (including cognitively normal subjects and patients with other neurodegenerative disorders) by a combination of traditional AD biomarkers and novel multiplex biomarkers. Six novel biomarkers (C3, CgA, IL-1α, I-309, NrCAM and VEGF) were correlated with the severity of cognitive impairment at CSF collection, and altered levels of IL-1α and TECK associated with subsequent cognitive decline in 38 longitudinally followed subjects with mild cognitive impairment. In summary, our targeted proteomic screen revealed novel CSF biomarkers that can improve the distinction between AD and non-AD cases by established biomarkers alone.
Amyloid beta; Abeta42; Diagnosis; IL-1α; MCI; NrCAM; PDGF; Resistin; TECK; TDP-43; Tau
Biomarkers are needed to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of diagnosis as well as prognosis in individuals with early Alzheimer disease (AD). Measures of brain structure and disease-related proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been proposed as biomarkers, yet relatively little is known about the relationships between such measures. The present study was conducted to assess the relationship between CSF Aβ and tau protein levels and longitudinal measures of hippocampal structure in individuals with and without very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type.
A single CSF sample and longitudinal MR scans were collected. The CSF samples were assayed for tau, p-tau181, Aβ1–42 and Aβ1–40 by ELISA. Large-deformation diffeomorphic metric mapping was used to generate hippocampal surfaces, and a composite hippocampal surface (previously constructed from 86 healthy participants) was used as a structural reference.
Patients or Other Participants
13 participants with very mild AD (Clinical Dementia Rating, CDR 0.5) and 11 cognitively normal participants (CDR 0).
Main Outcome Measures
Initial and rate-of-change measures of total hippocampal volume and displacement of the hippocampal surface within zones overlying the CA1, subiculum and CA2-4+DG cellular subfields. Their correlations with initial CSF measures.
Lower CSF Aβ1–42 levels and higher tau/Aβ1–42 and p-tau181/Aβ1–42 ratios were strongly correlated with decreases in hippocampal volume and measure of progressive inward deformations of the CA1 subfield in participants with early AD, but not cognitively normal participants.
Despite small sample size, we found that Aβ1–42 and tau-related CSF measures were related to hippocampal degeneration in individuals with clinically diagnosed early AD, and may reflect an association with a common underlying disease mechanism.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); Hippocampal subfields; β-Amyloid; Tau; P-Tau; biomarkers
Recent genome-wide association studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) have identified variants in BIN1, CLU, CR1 and PICALM that show replicable association with risk for disease. We have thoroughly sampled common variation in these genes, genotyping 355 variants in over 600 individuals for whom measurements of two AD biomarkers, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 42 amino acid amyloid beta fragments (Aβ42) and tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau181), have been obtained. Association analyses were performed to determine whether variants in BIN1, CLU, CR1 or PICALM are associated with changes in the CSF levels of these biomarkers. Despite adequate power to detect effects as small as a 1.05 fold difference, we have failed to detect evidence for association between SNPs in these genes and CSF Aβ42 or ptau181 levels in our sample. Our results suggest that these variants do not affect risk via a mechanism that results in a strong additive effect on CSF levels of Aβ42 or ptau181.
Accurate ante mortem diagnosis in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is crucial to the development and implementation of etiology-based therapies. Several neurodegenerative disease-associated proteins, including the major protein constituents of inclusions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) associated with amyloid-beta (Aβ1−42) plaque and tau neurofibrillary tangle pathology, can be measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for diagnostic applications. Comparative studies using autopsy-confirmed samples suggest that CSF total-tau (t-tau) and Aβ1−42 levels can accurately distinguish FTLD from AD, with a high t-tau to Aβ1−42 ratio diagnostic of AD; however, there is also an urgent need for FTLD-specific biomarkers. These analytes will require validation in large autopsy-confirmed cohorts and face challenges of standardization of within- and between-laboratory sources of error. In addition, CSF biomarkers with prognostic utility and longitudinal study of CSF biomarker levels over the course of disease are also needed. Current goals in the field include identification of analytes that are easily and reliably measured and can be used alone or in a multi-modal approach to provide an accurate prediction of underlying neuropathology for use in clinical trials of disease modifying treatments in FTLD. To achieve these goals it will be of the utmost importance to view neurodegenerative disease, including FTLD, as a clinicopathological entity, rather than exclusively a clinical syndrome.
cerebrospinal fluid; biomarker; tau; Aβ1−42; frontotemporal dementia; primary progressive aphasia; Alzheimer's disease
We sought to examine the association of levels of total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau 181 (p-tau181) protein with brain morphology in mild cognitive impairment, as defined by the concept of aging-associated cognitive decline (AACD) and Alzheimer disease.
Twenty-three participants with AACD, 16 with Alzheimer disease and 15 healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging and lumbar puncture. We performed voxel-based morphometry to investigate the association between tau levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and cerebral grey matter density throughout the entire brain.
Voxel-based morphometry revealed that both elevated t-tau and p-tau181 concentrations were associated with reduced grey matter density in temporal, parietal and frontal regions. Among participants with AACD, elevated levels of p-tau181 (but not t-tau) in CSF were correlated with a pronounced atrophy in the right hippocampus.
Our study was limited by the small sample, especially with respect to the analysis comprising the AACD subgroups. Moreover, we did not correct our voxel-based morphometry analyses for multiple dependent comparisons, therefore they harbour a risk of false-positive results.
Elevated levels of t-tau and p-tau181 in CSF reflect degenerative processes in the cortical regions typically affected in Alzheimer disease. Our findings in participants with AACD support the hypothesis that p-tau181 might be more specifically related to neurodegenerative changes in early Alzheimer disease.
Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42, tau and p181tau are widely accepted biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Numerous studies show that CSF tau and p181tau levels are elevated in mild-to-moderate AD compared to age-matched controls. In addition, these increases might predict preclinical AD in cognitively normal elderly. Despite their importance as biomarkers, the molecular nature of CSF tau and ptau is not known. In the current study, reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography was used to enrich and concentrate tau prior to western-blot analysis. Multiple N-terminal and mid-domain fragments of tau were detected in pooled CSF with apparent sizes ranging from <20 kDa to ~40 kDa. The pattern of tau fragments in AD and control samples were similar. In contrast, full-length tau and C-terminal-containing fragments were not detected. To quantify levels, five tau ELISAs and three ptau ELISAs were developed to detect different overlapping regions of the protein. The discriminatory potential of each assay was determined using 20 AD and 20 age-matched control CSF samples. Of the tau ELISAs, the two assays specific for tau containing N-terminal sequences, amino acids 9-198 (numbering based on tau 441) and 9-163, exhibited the most significant differences between AD and control samples. In contrast, CSF tau was not detected with an ELISA specific for a more C-terminal region (amino acids 159-335). Significant discrimination was also observed with ptau assays measuring amino acids 159-p181 and 159-p231. Interestingly, the discriminatory potential of p181 was reduced when measured in the context of tau species containing amino acids 9-p181. Taken together, these results demonstrate that tau in CSF occurs as a series of fragments and that discrimination of AD from control is dependent on the subset of tau species measured. These assays provide novel tools to investigate CSF tau and ptau as biomarkers for other neurodegenerative diseases.
CSF levels of Aβ1-42, t-tau, and p-tau181p are potential early diagnostic markers for probable Alzheimer disease (AD). The influence of genetic variation on these markers has been investigated for candidate genes but not on a genome-wide basis. We report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of CSF biomarkers (Aβ1-42, t-tau, p-tau181p, p-tau181p/Aβ1-42, and t-tau/Aβ1-42).
A total of 374 non-Hispanic Caucasian participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative cohort with quality-controlled CSF and genotype data were included in this analysis. The main effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) under an additive genetic model was assessed on each of 5 CSF biomarkers. The p values of all SNPs for each CSF biomarker were adjusted for multiple comparisons by the Bonferroni method. We focused on SNPs with corrected p < 0.01 (uncorrected p < 3.10 × 10−8) and secondarily examined SNPs with uncorrected p values less than 10−5 to identify potential candidates.
Four SNPs in the regions of the APOE, LOC100129500, TOMM40, and EPC2 genes reached genome-wide significance for associations with one or more CSF biomarkers. SNPs in CCDC134, ABCG2, SREBF2, and NFATC4, although not reaching genome-wide significance, were identified as potential candidates.
In addition to known candidate genes, APOE, TOMM40, and one hypothetical gene LOC100129500 partially overlapping APOE; one novel gene, EPC2, and several other interesting genes were associated with CSF biomarkers that are related to AD. These findings, especially the new EPC2 results, require replication in independent cohorts.
It is not well known whether Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers are associated with brain damage in cognitively normal elderly. The combined influence of CSF biomarkers and hypertension (HTN) on the gray matter (GM) is also not well described.
115 cognitively healthy subjects (mean age 62.6±9.5, 62% women) received clinical assessment, a high resolution MRI and a lumbar puncture. The CSF levels of total tau (t-tau), hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau231), amyloid beta (Aβ42/Aβ40), p-tau231/Aβ42 and t-tau/Aβ42 were dichotomized as ‘high’ and ‘low’ based on accepted cut-off values. Statistical parametric mapping was used to examine MRI scans for regional GM density, studied as a function of the CSF markers, HTN and combination of both. Global and medial temporal lobe (MTL) GM was also assessed. Voxel based morphometry revealed that higher t-tau was associated with lower GM density in the precunei. Subjects with higher p-tau231 and p-tau231/Aβ42 had less GM in temporal lobes. Low Aβ42/Aβ40 was related to less GM in the thalami, caudate and midbrain. Subjects with hypertension showed more GM atrophy in the cerebellum, occipital and frontal regions. Simultaneous presence of elevated CSF AD biomarkers and HTN was associated with more GM atrophy than either marker individually, but no interaction effects were identified.
In conclusion, in normal elderly CSF tau markers were associated predominantly with lower GM estimates in structures typically affected early in the AD process. In this presymptomatic stage when no cognitive impairment is present, AD pathology and HTN have additive effects on gray matter damage.
Aging; Biomarkers; MRI; Alzheimer’s Disease; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Hypertension
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid β (Aβ)-42, total-tau (T-tau), and phosphorylated-tau (P-tau) demonstrate good diagnostic accuracy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, there are large variations in biomarker measurements between studies, and between and within laboratories. The Alzheimer’s Association has initiated a global quality control program to estimate and monitor variability of measurements, quantify batch-to-batch assay variations, and identify sources of variability. In this article, we present the results from the first two rounds of the program.
The program is open for laboratories using commercially available kits for Aβ, T-tau, or P-tau. CSF samples (aliquots of pooled CSF) are sent for analysis several times a year from the Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory at the Molndal campus of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Each round consists of three quality control samples.
Forty laboratories participated. Twenty-six used INNOTESTenzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, 14 used Luminex xMAP with the INNO-BIA AlzBio3 kit (both measure Aβ-(1-42), P-tau(181P), and T-tau), and 5 used Meso Scale Discovery with the Aβ triplex (AβN-42, AβN-40, and AβN-38) or T-tau kits. The total coefficients of variation between the laboratories were 13% to 36%. Five laboratories analyzed the samples six times on different occasions. Within-laboratory precisions differed considerably between biomarkers within individual laboratories.
Measurements of CSF AD biomarkers show large between-laboratory variability, likely caused by factors related to analytical procedures and the analytical kits. Standardization of laboratory procedures and efforts by kit vendors to increase kit performance might lower variability, and will likely increase the usefulness of CSF AD biomarkers.
Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarkers; External assurance; External control; Proficiency testing
To longitudinally evaluate five cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in the transition from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
A baseline and 2-year follow-up clinical and CSF study of 86 subjects, including 22 MCI patients that declined to AD (MCI-AD), 43 MCI that did not deteriorate (MCI-MCI) and 21 controls (NL-NL). All subjects were studied for total and phosphorylated tau (T-tau, P-tau231), amyloid beta (Aβ) Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio, isoprostane (IP) as well as P-tau231/Aβ42/40 and T-tau/Aβ42/40 ratios.
At baseline and at follow-up MCI-AD showed higher levels P-tau231, T-tau, IP, P-tau231/Aβ42/40 and T-tau/Aβ42/40 ratios and lower Aβ42/Aβ40 than MCI-MCI or NL-NL. Baseline P-tau231 best predicted MCI-AD (80%, p<0.001) followed in accuracy by P-tau231/Aβ42/40 and T-tau/Aβ42/40 ratios (both 75%, p’s <0.001), T-tau (74%, p<0.001), Aβ42/Aβ40 (69%, p<0.01), and IP (68%, p<0.01). Only IP showed longitudinal effects (p<0.05).
P-tau231 is the strongest predictor of the decline from MCI to AD. IP levels uniquely show longitudinal progression effects. These results suggest the use of CSF biomarkers in secondary prevention trials.
Alzheimer’s disease; Mild Cognitive Impairment; CSF biomarkers; Early detection; Longitudinal; Prediction
The best-studied biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are the pathologically linked CSF proteins β-amyloid 42 (Aβ1–42), total tau (t-tau), and tau phosphorylated on amino acid 181 (p-tau181). Many laboratories measure these proteins using Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA). Multiplex xMAP Luminex is a semi-automated assay platform with reduced intra-sample variance, which could facilitate its use in CLIA-approved clinical laboratories. CSF concentrations of these three biomarkers reported using xMAP technology differ from those measured by the most commonly used ELISA, confounding attempts to compare results. To develop a model for converting between xMAP and ELISA levels of the three biomarkers, we analyzed CSF samples from 140 subjects (59 AD, 30 controls, 34 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 17 with Parkinson Disease, including 1 with dementia). Log-transformation of ELISA and xMAP levels made the variance constant in all three biomarkers and improved the linear regression: t-tau concentrations were highly correlated (r=0.94); p-tau181 concentrations by ELISA can be better predicted using both the t-tau and p-tau181 xMAP values (r=0.96) as compared to p-tau181 concentrations alone (r=0.82); correlation of Aβ1–42 concentrations was relatively weaker but still high (r=0.77). Among all six protein/assay combinations, xMAP Aβ1–42 had the best accuracy for diagnostic classification (88%) between AD and control subjects. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that multiplex xMAP is an appropriate assay platform providing results that can be correlated with research-based ELISA values, facilitating the incorporation of this diagnostic biomarker into routine clinical practice.
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA); Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); Alzheimer’s Disease
Because of the emerging intersections of HIV infection and Alzheimer's disease, we examined cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers related of amyloid and tau metabolism in HIV-infected patients.
In this cross-sectional study we measured soluble amyloid precursor proteins alpha and beta (sAPPα and sAPPβ), amyloid beta fragment 1-42 (Aβ1-42), and total and hyperphosphorylated tau (t-tau and p-tau) in CSF of 86 HIV-infected (HIV+) subjects, including 21 with AIDS dementia complex (ADC), 25 with central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic infections and 40 without neurological symptoms and signs. We also measured these CSF biomarkers in 64 uninfected (HIV-) subjects, including 21 with Alzheimer's disease, and both younger and older controls without neurological disease.
CSF sAPPα and sAPPβ concentrations were highly correlated and reduced in patients with ADC and opportunistic infections compared to the other groups. The opportunistic infection group but not the ADC patients had lower CSF Aβ1-42 in comparison to the other HIV+ subjects. CSF t-tau levels were high in some ADC patients, but did not differ significantly from the HIV+ neuroasymptomatic group, while CSF p-tau was not increased in any of the HIV+ groups. Together, CSF amyloid and tau markers segregated the ADC patients from both HIV+ and HIV- neuroasymptomatics and from Alzheimer's disease patients, but not from those with opportunistic infections.
Parallel reductions of CSF sAPPα and sAPPβ in ADC and CNS opportunistic infections suggest an effect of CNS immune activation or inflammation on neuronal amyloid synthesis or processing. Elevation of CSF t-tau in some ADC and CNS infection patients without concomitant increase in p-tau indicates neural injury without preferential accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau as found in Alzheimer's disease. These biomarker changes define pathogenetic pathways to brain injury in ADC that differ from those of Alzheimer's disease.
Biological markers of utility in tracking Alzheimer's disease (AD) during the presymptomatic prodromal phase are important for prevention studies. Changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of 42-amino-acid β-amyloid (Aβ42), total tau protein (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau at residue 181 (p-tau181) during this state are incompletely characterized.
We measured CSF markers in 13 carriers of familial AD (FAD) mutations that are fully penetrant for causing AD (PSEN1 and APP) and in 5 non-mutation-carrying family members.
Even among the entirely presymptomatic mutation carriers (n = 9), Aβ42 was diminished (388.7 vs. 618.4 pg/ml, p = 0.004), and t-tau (138.5 vs. 50.5 pg/ml, p = 0.002) and p-tau181 (71.7 vs. 24.6 pg/ml, p = 0.003) were elevated. There was a negative correlation between Aβ42 levels and age relative to the family-specific age of dementia diagnosis.
Our data are consistent with a decline in CSF Aβ42 levels occurring at least 20 years prior to clinical dementia in FAD.
Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarkers; Familial Alzheimer's disease, presymptomatic; PSEN1 gene; APP gene; tau protein; β-Amyloid, 42-amino-acid form
To understand the relation between risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their influence on biomarkers for AD, we examined the association of AD in the Finnish cohort with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from top AlzGene loci, genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and candidate gene studies; and tested the correlation between these SNPs and AD markers Aβ1–42, total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
We tested 25 SNPs for genetic association with clinical AD in our cohort comprised of 890 AD patients and 701-age matched healthy controls using logistic regression. For the correlational study with biomarkers, we tested 36 SNPs in a subset of 222 AD patients with available CSF using mixed models. Statistical analyses were adjusted for age, gender and APOE status. False discovery rate for multiple testing was applied. All participants were from academic hospital and research institutions in Finland.
APOE-ε4, CLU rs11136000, and MS4A4A rs2304933 correlated with significantly decreased Aβ1–42 (corrected p<0.05). At an uncorrected p<0.05, PPP3R1 rs1868402 and MAPT rs2435211 were related with increased t-tau; while SORL1 rs73595277 and MAPT rs16940758, with increased p-tau. Only TOMM40 rs2075650 showed association with clinical AD after adjusting for APOE-ε4 (p = 0.007), but not after multiple test correction (p>0.05).
We provide evidence that APOE-ε4, CLU and MS4A4A, which have been identified in GWAS to be associated with AD, also significantly reduced CSF Aβ1–42 in AD. None of the other AlzGene and GWAS loci showed significant effects on CSF tau. The effects of other SNPs on CSF biomarkers and clinical AD diagnosis did not reach statistical significance. Our findings suggest that APOE-ε4, CLU and MS4A4A influence both AD risk and CSF Aβ1–42.