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Spinal fluid protein points to Alzheimer’s test

Spinal fluid protein points to Alzheimer’s test

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Content provided by Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Postmortem studies have identified an abnormal complex of two proteins in the spinal fluid of people with various degrees of cognitive impairment. Researchers say it could lead to a test for early Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Mark A. Lovell and colleagues at the University of Kentucky in Louisville measured levels of the complex, made up of an enzyme called prostaglandin-d-synthase and a protein called transthyretin, in autopsy samples from 7 normal people, 12 who had died of various diseases, 4 subjects with mild cognitive impairment and 8 individuals with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

As they report in the medical journal Neurology, the researchers found a significant increase in the complexes in the cerebrospinal fluid of the subjects with mild cognitive impairment and in those with late Alzheimer’s disease, but not in the others.

The team also measured levels of the complex in cerebrospinal fluid obtained by lumbar punctures in living individuals — 15 subjects with probable Alzheimer’s disease and 14 age-matched normal “controls.”

They investigators found six-fold higher levels in the probable Alzheimer’s subjects compared with the controls.

What gives rise to the formation of the abnormal protein complex is not known. Nonetheless, Lovell and colleagues say, measuring concentrations of the complex may “may allow identification of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease early in the disease … and could be developed as a useful diagnostic tool in the clinical setting.”

SOURCE: Neurology, online June 6, 2008.

June 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment