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Biological markers of amyloid beta-related mechanisms in Alzheimer's disease.Recent research progress has given detailed knowledge on the molecular pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), which has been translated into an intense, ongoing development of disease-modifying treatments. Most new drug candidates are targeted on inhibiting amyloid beta (Abeta) production and aggregation. In drug development, it is important to co-develop biomarkers for Abeta-related mechanisms to enable early diagnosis and patient stratification in clinical trials, and to serve as tools to identify and monitor the biochemical effect of the drug directly in patients. Biomarkers are also requested by regulatory authorities to serve as safety measurements. Molecular aberrations in the AD brain are reflected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Core CSF biomarkers include Abeta isoforms (Abeta40/Abeta42), soluble APP isoforms, Abeta oligomers and beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1). This article reviews recent research advances on core candidate CSF and plasma Abeta-related biomarkers, and gives a conceptual review on how to implement biomarkers in clinical trials in AD.
Blood-based biomarkers of microvascular pathology in Alzheimer's disease.Sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a genetically complex and chronically progressive neurodegenerative disorder with molecular mechanisms and neuropathologies centering around the amyloidogenic pathway, hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau protein, and neurofibrillary degeneration. While cerebrovascular changes have not been traditionally considered to be a central part of AD pathology, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that they may, in fact, be a characteristic feature of the AD brain as well. In particular, microvascular abnormalities within the brain have been associated with pathological AD hallmarks and may precede neurodegeneration. In vivo assessment of microvascular pathology provides a promising approach to develop useful biological markers for early detection and pathological characterization of AD. This review focuses on established blood-based biological marker candidates of microvascular pathology in AD. These candidates include plasma concentration of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) that are increased in AD. Measures of endothelial vasodilatory function including endothelin (ET-1), adrenomedullin (ADM), and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), as well as sphingolipids are significantly altered in mild AD or during the predementia stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), suggesting sensitivity of these biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis. In conclusion, the emerging clinical diagnostic evidence for the value of blood-based microvascular biomarkers in AD is promising, however, still requires validation in phase II and III diagnostic trials. Moreover, it is still unclear whether the described protein dysbalances are early or downstream pathological events and how the detected systemic microvascular alterations relate to cerebrovascular and neuronal pathologies in the AD brain.