CSF markers for incipient Alzheimer's disease

Lancet Neurol. 2003 Oct;2(10):605-13. doi: 10.1016/s1474-4422(03)00530-1.


Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is needed to initiate symptomatic treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and will be of even greater significance if drugs aimed at slowing down the degenerative process, such as vaccination regimes and beta-secretase and gamma-secretase inhibitors, prove to affect AD pathology and to have clinical effect. However, there is no clinical method to determine in which patients mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will progress to AD with dementia, and in which patients MCI is benign. Hence, there is a great clinical need for biomarkers to identify incipient AD in patients with MCI. The CSF biomarkers total tau protein, phosphorylated tau protein, and the 42 amino-acid residue form of amyloid-beta may, if put in the right clinical context, prove to have high enough diagnostic accuracy to meet this challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Peptide Fragments / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-40)
  • tau Proteins