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1.  Neurochemical biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders 
Neurochemical biomarkers for diagnosing dementias are currently under intensive investigation and the field is rapidly expanding. The main protagonists and the best defined among them are cerebrospinal fluid levels of Aβ42, tau and its phosphorylated forms (p-tau). In addition, novel cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers are emerging and their multiparametric assessment seems most promising for increasing the accuracy in neurochemical dementia diagnostics. The combined assessment of Aβ42 and p-tau has recently shown value for diagnosing prodromal states of Alzheimer’s dementia, that is, mild cognitive impairment. Disease-specific biomarkers for other degenerative dementias are still missing, but some progress has recently been made. As lumbar puncture is an additional burden for the patient, blood-based neurochemical biomarkers are definitely warranted and promising new discoveries have been made in this direction. These diagnostic developments have implicit therapeutic consequences and give rise to new requirements for future neurochemical dementia diagnostics.
PMCID: PMC3487531  PMID: 23139704
Alzheimer’s disease; biomarker; blood; cerebrospinal fluid; dementia
2.  Cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β 2-42 is decreased in Alzheimer’s, but not in frontotemporal dementia 
Journal of Neural Transmission  2012;119(7):805-813.
Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) and frontotemporal dementias (FTD) are common and their clinical differential diagnosis may be complicated by overlapping symptoms, which is why biomarkers may have an important role to play. Cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) Aβ2-42 and 1-42 have been shown to be similarly decreased in AD, but 1-42 did not display sufficient specificity for exclusion of other dementias from AD. The objective of the present study was to clarify the diagnostic value of Aβ2-42 peptides for the differential diagnosis of AD from FTD. For this purpose, 20 non-demented disease controls (NDC), 22 patients with AD and 17 with FTD were comparatively analysed by a novel sequential aminoterminally and carboxyterminally specific immunoprecipitation protocol with subsequent Aβ-SDS-PAGE/immunoblot, allowing the quantification of peptides 1-38ox, 2-40 and 2-42 along with Aβ 1-37, 1-38, 1-39, 1-40, 1-40ox and 1-42. CSF Aβ1-42 was decreased in AD as compared to NDC, but not to FTD. In a subgroup of the patients analyzed, the decrease of Abeta2-42 in AD was evident as compared to both NDC and FTD. Aβ1-38 was decreased in FTD as compared to NDC and AD. For differentiating AD from FTD, Aβ1-42 demonstrated sufficient diagnostic accuracies only when combined with Aβ1-38. Aβ2-42 yielded diagnostic accuracies of over 85 % as a single marker. These accuracy figures could be improved by combining Aβ2-42 to Aβ1-38. Aβ2-42 seems to be a promising biomarker for differentiating AD from other degenerative dementias, such as FTD.
PMCID: PMC3605494  PMID: 22527776
Alzheimer’s dementia; Frontotemporal dementia; Cerebrospinal fluid; Aminoterminally truncated; Amyloid-β peptides; Aβ2-42
3.  The mechanism of γ-Secretase dysfunction in familial Alzheimer disease 
The EMBO Journal  2012;31(10):2261-2274.
The mechanism of γ-Secretase dysfunction in familial Alzheimer disease
Mutations in presenilin (PSEN) and amyloid precursor protein (APP) cause dominant early-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the mechanism involved is debated. Here, such mutations are shown to alter γ-secretase activity, leading to changes in Aβ peptide cleavage patterns.
The mechanisms by which mutations in the presenilins (PSEN) or the amyloid precursor protein (APP) genes cause familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) are controversial. FAD mutations increase the release of amyloid β (Aβ)42 relative to Aβ40 by an unknown, possibly gain-of-toxic-function, mechanism. However, many PSEN mutations paradoxically impair γ-secretase and ‘loss-of-function' mechanisms have also been postulated. Here, we use kinetic studies to demonstrate that FAD mutations affect Aβ generation via three different mechanisms, resulting in qualitative changes in the Aβ profiles, which are not limited to Aβ42. Loss of ɛ-cleavage function is not generally observed among FAD mutants. On the other hand, γ-secretase inhibitors used in the clinic appear to block the initial ɛ-cleavage step, but unexpectedly affect more selectively Notch than APP processing, while modulators act as activators of the carboxypeptidase-like (γ) activity. Overall, we provide a coherent explanation for the effect of different FAD mutations, demonstrating the importance of qualitative rather than quantitative changes in the Aβ products, and suggest fundamental improvements for current drug development efforts.
PMCID: PMC3364747  PMID: 22505025
Alzheimer; amyloid; FAD mutations; γ-secretase; presenilin
4.  Retrieval of the Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein from the endosome to the TGN is S655 phosphorylation state-dependent and retromer-mediated 
Retrograde transport of several transmembrane proteins from endosomes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN) occurs via Rab 5-containing endosomes, mediated by clathrin and the recently characterized retromer complex. This complex and one of its putative sorting receptor components, SorLA, were reported to be associated to late onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). The pathogenesis of this neurodegenerative disorder is still elusive, although accumulation of amyloidogenic Abeta is a hallmark. This peptide is generated from the sucessive β- and γ- secretase proteolysis of the Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein (APP), events which are associated with endocytic pathway compartments. Therefore, APP targeting and time of residence in endosomes would be predicted to modulate Abeta levels. However, the formation of an APP- and retromer-containing protein complex with potential functions in retrieval of APP from the endosome to the TGN had, to date, not been demonstrated directly. Further, the motif(s) in APP that regulate its sorting to the TGN have not been characterized.
Through the use of APP-GFP constructs, we show that APP containing endocytic vesicles targeted for the TGN, are also immunoreactive for clathrin-, Rab 5- and VPS35. Further, they frequently generate protruding tubules near the TGN, supporting an association with a retromer-mediated pathway. Importantly, we show for the first time, that mimicking APP phosphorylation at S655, within the APP 653YTSI656 basolateral motif, enhances APP retrieval via a retromer-mediated process. The phosphomimetic APP S655E displays decreased APP lysosomal targeting, enhanced mature half-life, and decreased tendency towards Abeta production. VPS35 downregulation impairs the phosphorylation dependent APP retrieval to the TGN, and decreases APP half-life.
We reported for the first time the importance of APP phosphorylation on S655 in regulating its retromer-mediated sorting to the TGN or lysosomes. Significantly, the data are consistent with known interactions involving the retromer, SorLA and APP. Further, these findings add to our understanding of APP targeting and potentially contribute to our knowledge of sporadic AD pathogenesis representing putative new targets for AD therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC2994555  PMID: 20937087
5.  cNEUPRO: Novel Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Diseases 
“clinical NEUroPROteomics of neurodegenerative diseases” (cNEUPRO) is a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) within the sixth framework program of the European Commission dedicated to the search for novel biomarker candidates for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. The ultimate goal of cNEUPRO is to identify one or more valid biomarker(s) in blood and CSF applicable to support the early and differential diagnosis of dementia disorders. The consortium covers all steps required for the discovery of novel biomarker candidates such as acquisition of high quality CSF and blood samples from relevant patient groups and controls, analysis of body fluids by various methods, and finally assay development and assay validation. Here we report the standardized procedures for diagnosis and preanalytical sample-handling within the project, as well as the status of the ongoing research activities and some first results.
PMCID: PMC2945639  PMID: 20886057
6.  Combined Analysis of CSF Tau, Aβ42, Aβ1–42% and Aβ1–40ox% in Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson's Disease Dementia 
We studied the diagnostic value of CSF Aβ42/tau versus low Aβ1–42% and high Aβ1–40ox% levels for differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), respectively. CSF of 45 patients with AD, 15 with DLB, 21 with Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), and 40 nondemented disease controls (NDC) was analyzed by Aβ-SDS-PAGE/immunoblot and ELISAs (Aβ42 and tau). Aβ42/tau lacked specificity in discriminating AD from DLB and PDD. Best discriminating biomarkers were Aβ1–42% and Aβ1–40ox% for AD and DLB, respectively. AD and DLB could be differentiated by both Aβ1–42% and Aβ1–40ox% with an accuracy of 80% at minimum. Thus, we consider Aβ1–42% and Aβ1–40ox% to be useful biomarkers for AD and DLB, respectively. We propose further studies on the integration of Aβ1–42% and Aβ1–40ox% into conventional assay formats. Moreover, future studies should investigate the combination of Aβ1–40ox% and CSF alpha-synuclein for the diagnosis of DLB.
PMCID: PMC2938459  PMID: 20862375
7.  Exposure to allergens of different cattle breeds and their relevance in occupational allergy 
Cattle are an important source of allergens in the working area of farmers. Asthma caused by cow allergens is a significant occupational problem. Yet in allergological testing, the results of in vivo and in vitro diagnostic tests are often inconsistent even in cases with clearly cattle-related symptoms.
Objectives and methods
The aim of this study was to investigate four different commercial cow allergen extracts and to compare them with self prepared extracts of different cattle breeds by means of SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting using the sera of 42 German farmers with asthma and rhino-conjunctivitis caused by cattle contact.
The commercial extracts investigated in this study showed only minor differences in protein pattern. Using sera in immunoblotting experiments distinct bands were found for all symptomatic farmers, even in 13 farmers with a negative result in commercially available serological allergy tests. Bands with molecular weights in the range between about 11 and 67 kDa were observed; reactivity with the major allergen Bos d 2 at about 20 kDa was detected in all farmers, although it was not the strongest band in all cases.
We demonstrate for the first time the allergenic relevance of additional proteins with molecular weights of 14, 30, 55 and approx. 67–97 kDa in more than 50% of farmers with cattle related symptoms. One of our most striking results was that 32% of the investigated farmers with cattle related symptoms showed negative results with commercial serological tests but distinct reactions with cow allergen in immunoblotting experiments. The Bos d 2 content in hair showed differences between certain breeds whereas German Brown and Simmental had particularly higher quantities of Bos d 2 in their hair than breeds such as Holstein-Friesian. These results strongly support the following recommendation: test results with commercial extracts that are contradictory to the clinical symptoms should be supplemented by skin tests using extracts of the hair of the farmers’ own cattle.
PMCID: PMC2746899  PMID: 19238424
Occupational allergy; Cattle allergen; Diagnosis; Bos d 2
8.  γ-Secretase Heterogeneity in the Aph1 Subunit: Relevance for Alzheimer’s Disease 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;324(5927):639-642.
The γ-secretase complex plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer progression. The development of clinical useful inhibitors, however, is complicated by the role of the γ-secretase complex in regulated intramembrane proteolysis of Notch and other essential proteins. Different γ-secretase complexes containing different Presenilin or Aph1 protein subunits are present in various tissues. Here we show that these complexes have heterogeneous biochemical and physiological properties. Specific inactivation of the Aph1B γ-secretase in a murine Alzheimer’s disease model led to improvements of Alzheimer’s disease-relevant phenotypic features without any Notch-related side effects. The Aph1B complex contributes to total γ-secretase activity in the human brain, thus specific targeting of Aph1B-containing γ-secretase complexes may be helpful in generating less toxic therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC2740474  PMID: 19299585

Results 1-8 (8)