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1.  Practical detection of a definitive biomarker panel for Alzheimer’s disease; comparisons between matched plasma and cerebrospinal fluid 
Previous mass spectrometry analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has allowed the identification of a panel of molecular markers that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The panel comprises Amyloid beta, Apolipoprotein E, Fibrinogen alpha chain precursor, Keratin type I cytoskeletal 9, Serum albumin precursor, SPARC-like 1 protein and Tetranectin. Here we report the development and implementation of immunoassays to measure the abundance and diagnostic capacity of these putative biomarkers in matched lumbar CSF and blood plasma samples taken in life from individuals confirmed at post-mortem as suffering from AD (n = 10) and from screened ‘cognitively healthy’ subjects (n = 18). The inflammatory components of Alzheimer’s disease were also investigated. Employment of supervised learning techniques permitted examination of the interrelated expression patterns of the putative biomarkers and identified inflammatory components, resulting in biomarker panels with a diagnostic accuracy of 87.5% and 86.7% for the plasma and CSF datasets respectively. This is extremely important as it offers an ideal high-throughput and relatively inexpensive population screening approach. It appears possible to determine the presence or absence of AD based on our biomarker panel and it seems likely that a cheap and rapid blood test for AD is feasible.
PMCID: PMC4065395  PMID: 24959311
Alzheimer’s disease; biomarker; blood plasma; cerebrospinal fluid
2.  Association of Interleukin-1 Gene Polymorphisms with Alzheimer’s Disease 
Annals of neurology  2000;47(3):365-368.
Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is markedly overexpressed in Alzheimer’s disease. We found the IL-1A 2,2 genotype in 12.9% of 232 neuropathologically confirmed Alzheimer’s disease patients and 6.6% of 167 controls from four centers in the United Kingdom and United States (odds ratio, 3.0; controlled for age and for ApoE [apolipoprotein E] genotype). Homozygosity for both allele 2 of IL-1A and allele 2 of IL-1B conferred even greater risk (odds ratio, 10.8). IL-1 genotypes may confer risk for Alzheimer’s disease through IL-1 overexpression and IL-1– driven neurodegenerative cascades.
PMCID: PMC3833599  PMID: 10716257
3.  Dysfunction of the mTOR pathway is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease 
Background
The development of disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease is hampered by our lack of understanding of the early pathogenic mechanisms and the lack of early biomarkers and risk factors.
We have documented the expression pattern of mTOR regulated genes in the frontal cortex of Alzheimer’s disease patients. We have also examined the functional integrity of mTOR signaling in peripheral lymphocytes in Alzheimer’s disease patients relative to healthy controls.
Results
In the brain mTOR is seen to control molecular functions related to cell cycle regulation, cell death and several metabolic pathways. These downstream elements of the mTOR signaling cascade are deregulated in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients well before the development of pathology. This dysregulation of the mTOR downstream signaling cascade is not restricted to the brain but appears to be systemic and can be detected in peripheral lymphocytes as a reduced Rapamycin response.
Conclusions
The dysfunction of the signaling pathways downstream of mTOR may represent a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and is independent of the ApoE status of the patients.
We have also identified the molecular substrates of the beneficial effects of Rapamycin on the nervous system. We believe that these results can further inform the development of clinical predictive tests for the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
doi:10.1186/2051-5960-1-3
PMCID: PMC3776211  PMID: 24252508
mTOR; cell cycle; Alzheimer’s disease; risk factor; ApoE
4.  Recent Alzheimer's disease research highlights 
doi:10.1186/alzrt117
PMCID: PMC3506929  PMID: 22594696
5.  Is MRI better than CT for detecting a vascular component to dementia? A systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:33.
Background
Identification of causes of dementia soon after symptom onset is important, because appropriate treatment of some causes of dementia can slow or halt its progression or enable symptomatic treatment where appropriate. The accuracy of MRI and CT, and whether MRI is superior to CT, in detecting a vascular component to dementia in autopsy confirmed and clinical cohorts of patients with VaD, combined AD and VaD (“mixed dementia”), and AD remain unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate this question.
Methods
We searched eight databases and screened reference lists to identify studies addressing the review question. We assessed study quality using QUADAS. We estimated summary diagnostic accuracy according to imaging finding, and ratios of diagnostic odds ratios (RDORs) for MRI versus CT and high versus low risk of bias.
Results
We included 7 autopsy and 31 non-autopsy studies. There was little evidence that selective patient enrolment and risk of incorporation bias impacted on diagnostic accuracy (p = 0.12 to 0.95). The most widely reported imaging finding was white matter hyperintensities. For CT (11 studies) summary sensitivity and specificity were 71% (95% CI 53%-85%) and 55% (44%-66%). Corresponding figures for MRI (6 studies) were 95% (87%-98%) and 26% (12%-50%). General infarcts was the most specific imaging finding on MRI (96%; 95% CI 94%-97%) and CT (96%; 93%-98%). However, sensitivity was low for both MRI (53%; 36%-70%) and CT (52%; 22% to 80%). No imaging finding had consistently high sensitivity. Based on non-autopsy studies, MRI was more accurate than CT for six of seven imaging findings, but confidence intervals were wide.
Conclusion
There is insufficient evidence to suggest that MRI is superior to CT with respect to identifying cerebrovascular changes in autopsy-confirmed and clinical cohorts of VaD, AD, and ‘mixed dementia’.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-33
PMCID: PMC3403932  PMID: 22672344
Dementia; CT; MRI; Diagnosis; Systematic review
6.  Interactions between PPAR-α and inflammation-related cytokine genes on the development of Alzheimer’s disease, observed by the Epistasis Project 
Objective
Neuroinflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Variations in genes relevant to inflammation may be candidate genes for AD risk. Whole-genome association studies have identified relevant new and known genes. Their combined effects do not explain 100% of the risk, genetic interactions may contribute. We investigated whether genes involved in inflammation, i.e. PPAR-α, interleukins (IL) IL- 1α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 may interact to increase AD risk.
Methods
The Epistasis Project identifies interactions that affect the risk of AD. Genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in PPARA, IL1A, IL1B, IL6 and IL10 was performed. Possible associations were analyzed by fitting logistic regression models with AD as outcome, controlling for centre, age, sex and presence of apolipoprotein ε4 allele (APOEε4). Adjusted synergy factors were derived from interaction terms (p<0.05 two-sided).
Results
We observed four significant interactions between different SNPs in PPARA and in interleukins IL1A, IL1B, IL10 that may affect AD risk. There were no significant interactions between PPARA and IL6.
Conclusions
In addition to an association of the PPARA L162V polymorphism with the AD risk, we observed four significant interactions between SNPs in PPARA and SNPs in IL1A, IL1B and IL10 affecting AD risk. We prove that gene-gene interactions explain part of the heritability of AD and are to be considered when assessing the genetic risk. Necessary replications will require between 1450 and 2950 of both cases and controls, depending on the prevalence of the SNP, to have 80% power to detect the observed synergy factors.
PMCID: PMC3316448  PMID: 22493750
AD; genetics; epistasis; inflammation; interleukin; steroid receptors; PPAR-alpha; sporadic; genetic interaction
7.  Common variants in ABCA7, MS4A6A/MS4A4E, EPHA1, CD33 and CD2AP are associated with Alzheimer’s disease 
Hollingworth, Paul | Harold, Denise | Sims, Rebecca | Gerrish, Amy | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Abraham, Richard | Hamshere, Marian L | Pahwa, Jaspreet Singh | Moskvina, Valentina | Dowzell, Kimberley | Jones, Nicola | Stretton, Alexandra | Thomas, Charlene | Richards, Alex | Ivanov, Dobril | Widdowson, Caroline | Chapman, Jade | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Proitsi, Petroula | Lupton, Michelle K | Brayne, Carol | Rubinsztein, David C | Gill, Michael | Lawlor, Brian | Lynch, Aoibhinn | Brown, Kristelle S | Passmore, Peter A | Craig, David | McGuinness, Bernadette | Todd, Stephen | Holmes, Clive | Mann, David | Smith, A David | Beaumont, Helen | Warden, Donald | Wilcock, Gordon | Love, Seth | Kehoe, Patrick G | Hooper, Nigel M | Vardy, Emma R. L. C. | Hardy, John | Mead, Simon | Fox, Nick C | Rossor, Martin | Collinge, John | Maier, Wolfgang | Jessen, Frank | Schürmann, Britta | Rüther, Eckart | Heun, Reiner | Kölsch, Heike | van den Bussche, Hendrik | Heuser, Isabella | Kornhuber, Johannes | Wiltfang, Jens | Dichgans, Martin | Frölich, Lutz | Hampel, Harald | Hüll, Michael | Gallacher, John | Rujescu, Dan | Giegling, Ina | Goate, Alison M | Kauwe, John S K | Cruchaga, Carlos | Nowotny, Petra | Morris, John C | Mayo, Kevin | Sleegers, Kristel | Bettens, Karolien | Engelborghs, Sebastiaan | De Deyn, Peter P | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Livingston, Gill | Bass, Nicholas J | Gurling, Hugh | McQuillin, Andrew | Gwilliam, Rhian | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Shaw, Christopher E | Tsolaki, Magda | Singleton, Andrew B | Guerreiro, Rita | Mühleisen, Thomas W | Nöthen, Markus M | Moebus, Susanne | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Klopp, Norman | Wichmann, H-Erich | Pankratz, V Shane | Sando, Sigrid B | Aasly, Jan O | Barcikowska, Maria | Wszolek, Zbigniew K | Dickson, Dennis W | Graff-Radford, Neill R | Petersen, Ronald C | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Breteler, Monique MB | Ikram, M Arfan | DeStefano, Anita L | Fitzpatrick, Annette L | Lopez, Oscar | Launer, Lenore J | Seshadri, Sudha | Berr, Claudine | Campion, Dominique | Epelbaum, Jacques | Dartigues, Jean-François | Tzourio, Christophe | Alpérovitch, Annick | Lathrop, Mark | Feulner, Thomas M | Friedrich, Patricia | Riehle, Caterina | Krawczak, Michael | Schreiber, Stefan | Mayhaus, Manuel | Nicolhaus, S | Wagenpfeil, Stefan | Steinberg, Stacy | Stefansson, Hreinn | Stefansson, Kari | Snædal, Jon | Björnsson, Sigurbjörn | Jonsson, Palmi V. | Chouraki, Vincent | Genier-Boley, Benjamin | Hiltunen, Mikko | Soininen, Hilkka | Combarros, Onofre | Zelenika, Diana | Delepine, Marc | Bullido, Maria J | Pasquier, Florence | Mateo, Ignacio | Frank-Garcia, Ana | Porcellini, Elisa | Hanon, Olivier | Coto, Eliecer | Alvarez, Victoria | Bosco, Paolo | Siciliano, Gabriele | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Panza, Francesco | Solfrizzi, Vincenzo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Sorbi, Sandro | Bossù, Paola | Piccardi, Paola | Arosio, Beatrice | Annoni, Giorgio | Seripa, Davide | Pilotto, Alberto | Scarpini, Elio | Galimberti, Daniela | Brice, Alexis | Hannequin, Didier | Licastro, Federico | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter A | Jonsson, Thorlakur | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Morgan, Kevin | Younkin, Steven G | Owen, Michael J | O’Donovan, Michael | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie
Nature genetics  2011;43(5):429-435.
We sought to identify new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through a staged association study (GERAD+) and by testing suggestive loci reported by the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Consortium (ADGC). First, we undertook a combined analysis of four genome-wide association datasets (Stage 1) and identified 10 novel variants with P≤1×10−5. These were tested for association in an independent sample (Stage 2). Three SNPs at two loci replicated and showed evidence for association in a further sample (Stage 3). Meta-analyses of all data provide compelling evidence that ABCA7 (meta-P 4.5×10−17; including ADGC meta-P=5.0×10−21) and the MS4A gene cluster (rs610932, meta-P=1.8×10−14; including ADGC meta-P=1.2×10−16; rs670139, meta-P=1.4×10−9; including ADGC meta-P=1.1×10−10) are novel susceptibility loci for AD. Second, we observed independent evidence for association for three suggestive loci reported by the ADGC GWAS, which when combined shows genome-wide significance: CD2AP (GERAD+ P=8.0×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=8.6×10−9), CD33 (GERAD+ P=2.2×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=1.6×10−9) and EPHA1 (GERAD+ P=3.4×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=6.0×10−10). These findings support five novel susceptibility genes for AD.
doi:10.1038/ng.803
PMCID: PMC3084173  PMID: 21460840
8.  Non-linear relationships of cerebrospinal fluid biomarker levels with cognitive function: an observational study 
Introduction
Levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) β-amyloid (Aβ) and Tau proteins change in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We tested if the relationships of these biomarkers with cognitive impairment are linear or non-linear.
Methods
We assessed cognitive function and assayed CSF Aβ and Tau biomarkers in 95 non-demented volunteers and 97 AD patients. We then tested non-linearities in their inter-relations.
Results
CSF biomarkers related to cognitive function in the non-demented range of cognition, but these relations were weak or absent in the patient range; Aβ1-40's relationship was biphasic.
Conclusions
Major biomarker changes precede clinical AD and index cognitive impairment in AD poorly, if at all.
doi:10.1186/alzrt64
PMCID: PMC3109414  PMID: 21329517
9.  The dopamine β-hydroxylase -1021C/T polymorphism is associated with the risk of Alzheimer's disease in the Epistasis Project 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:162.
Background
The loss of noradrenergic neurones of the locus coeruleus is a major feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) catalyses the conversion of dopamine to noradrenaline. Interactions have been reported between the low-activity -1021T allele (rs1611115) of DBH and polymorphisms of the pro-inflammatory cytokine genes, IL1A and IL6, contributing to the risk of AD. We therefore examined the associations with AD of the DBH -1021T allele and of the above interactions in the Epistasis Project, with 1757 cases of AD and 6294 elderly controls.
Methods
We genotyped eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the three genes, DBH, IL1A and IL6. We used logistic regression models and synergy factor analysis to examine potential interactions and associations with AD.
Results
We found that the presence of the -1021T allele was associated with AD: odds ratio = 1.2 (95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.4, p = 0.005). This association was nearly restricted to men < 75 years old: odds ratio = 2.2 (1.4-3.3, 0.0004). We also found an interaction between the presence of DBH -1021T and the -889TT genotype (rs1800587) of IL1A: synergy factor = 1.9 (1.2-3.1, 0.005). All these results were consistent between North Europe and North Spain.
Conclusions
Extensive, previous evidence (reviewed here) indicates an important role for noradrenaline in the control of inflammation in the brain. Thus, the -1021T allele with presumed low activity may be associated with misregulation of inflammation, which could contribute to the onset of AD. We suggest that such misregulation is the predominant mechanism of the association we report here.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-162
PMCID: PMC2994840  PMID: 21070631
10.  Predicting the time of conversion to MCI in the elderly 
Neurology  2009;73(18):1436-1442.
Background:
Increasing awareness that minimal or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the elderly may be a precursor of dementia has led to an increase in the number of people attending memory clinics. We aimed to develop a way of predicting the period of time before cognitive impairment occurs in community-dwelling elderly. The method is illustrated by the use of simple tests of different cognitive domains.
Methods:
A cohort of 241 normal elderly volunteers was followed for up to 20 years with regular assessments of cognitive abilities using the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG); 91 participants developed MCI. We used interval-censored survival analysis statistical methods to model which baseline cognitive tests best predicted the time to convert to MCI.
Results:
Out of several baseline variables, only age and CAMCOG subscores for expression and learning/memory were predictors of the time to conversion. The time to conversion was 14% shorter for each 5 years of age, 17% shorter for each point lower in the expression score, and 15% shorter for each point lower in the learning score. We present in tabular form the probability of converting to MCI over intervals between 2 and 10 years for different combinations of expression and learning scores.
Conclusion:
In apparently normal elderly people, subtle measurable cognitive deficits that occur within the normal range on standard testing protocols reliably predict the time to clinically relevant cognitive impairment long before clinical symptoms are reported.
GLOSSARY
= Alzheimer disease;
= accelerated failure time;
= amnestic mild cognitive impairment;
= Cambridge Cognitive Examination;
= Cambridge Examination for Disorders of the Elderly;
= confidence interval;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke;
= Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing;
= odds ratio.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c0665f
PMCID: PMC2882176  PMID: 19794124
11.  Effect of Tarenflurbil on Cognitive Decline and Activities of Daily Living in Patients With Mild Alzheimer Disease 
Context
Amyloid-β peptide (Aβ42) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Tarenflurbil, a selective Aβ42-lowering agent, demonstrated encouraging results on cognitive and functional outcomes among mildly affected patients in an earlier phase 2 trial.
Objective
To determine the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of tarenflurbil.
Design, Setting, and Patients
A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial enrolling patients with mild AD was conducted at 133 trial sites in the United States between February 21, 2005, and April 30, 2008. Concomitant treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine was permitted.
Intervention
Tarenflurbil, 800 mg, or placebo, administered twice a day.
Main Outcome Measures
Co-primary efficacy end points were the change from baseline to month 18 in total score on the subscale of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale–Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog, 80-point version) and Alzheimer Disease Cooperative Studies–activities of daily living (ADCS-ADL) scale. Additional prespecified slope analyses explored the possibility of disease modification.
Results
Of the 1684 participants randomized, 1649 were included in the analysis, and 1046 completed the trial. Tarenflurbil had no beneficial effect on the co-primary outcomes (difference in change from baseline to month 18 vs placebo, based on least squares means: 0.1 for ADAS-Cog; 95% CI, −0.9 to 1.1; P=.86 and −0.5 for ADCS-ADL; 95% CI, −1.9 to 0.9; P=.48) using an intent-to-treat analysis. No significant differences occurred in the secondary outcomes. The ADAS-Cog score decreased by 7.1 points over 18 months. The tarenflurbil group had a small increase in frequency of dizziness, anemia, and infections.
Conclusion
Tarenflurbil did not slow cognitive decline or the loss of activities of daily living in patients with mild AD.
doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1866
PMCID: PMC2902875  PMID: 20009055
12.  Replication by the Epistasis Project of the interaction between the genes for IL-6 and IL-10 in the risk of Alzheimer's disease 
Background
Chronic inflammation is a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD). An interaction associated with the risk of AD has been reported between polymorphisms in the regulatory regions of the genes for the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6, gene: IL6), and the anti-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-10 (IL-10, gene: IL10).
Methods
We examined this interaction in the Epistasis Project, a collaboration of 7 AD research groups, contributing DNA samples from 1,757 cases of AD and 6,295 controls.
Results
We replicated the interaction. For IL6 rs2069837 AA × IL10 rs1800871 CC, the synergy factor (SF) was 1.63 (95% confidence interval: 1.10–2.41, p = 0.01), controlling for centre, age, gender and apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOEε4) genotype. Our results are consistent between North Europe (SF = 1.7, p = 0.03) and North Spain (SF = 2.0, p = 0.09). Further replication may require a meta-analysis. However, association due to linkage disequilibrium with other polymorphisms in the regulatory regions of these genes cannot be excluded.
Conclusion
We suggest that dysregulation of both IL-6 and IL-10 in some elderly people, due in part to genetic variations in the two genes, contributes to the development of AD. Thus, inflammation facilitates the onset of sporadic AD.
doi:10.1186/1742-2094-6-22
PMCID: PMC2744667  PMID: 19698145
14.  Efficacy and safety of galantamine in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: multicentre randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2000;321(7274):1445.
Objective
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of galantamine in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Design
Randomised, double blind, parallel group, placebo controlled trial.
Setting
86 outpatient clinics in Europe and Canada.
Participants
653 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
Intervention
Patients randomly assigned to galantamine had their daily dose escalated over three to four weeks to maintenance doses of 24 or 32 mg.
Main outcome measures
Scores on the 11 item cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's disease assessment scale, the clinician's interview based impression of change plus caregiver input, and the disability assessment for dementia scale. The effect of apolipoprotein E4 genotype on reponse to treatment was also assessed.
Results
At six months, patients who received galantamine had a significantly better outcome on the 11 item cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's disease assessment scale than patients in the placebo group (mean treatment effect 2.9 points for lower dose and 3.1 for higher dose, intention to treat analysis, P<0.001 for both doses). Galantamine was more effective than placebo on the clinician's interview based impression of change plus caregiver input (P<0.05 for both doses v placebo). At six months, patients in the higher dose galantamine group had significantly better scores on the disability assessment for dementia scale than patients in the placebo group (mean treatment effect 3.4 points, P<0.05). Apolipoprotein E genotype had no effect on the efficacy of galantamine. 80% (525) of patients completed the study.
Conclusion
Galantamine is effective and well tolerated in Alzheimer's disease. As galantamine slowed the decline of functional ability as well as cognition, its effects are likely to be clinically relevant.
PMCID: PMC27547  PMID: 11110737

Results 1-14 (14)