Background: The pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) include accumulation of amyloid-β (Aß) peptide forming extracellular senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles made of hyperphosphorylated tau protein with neuronal loss. Aβ peptide (1-42), total tau (T-tau), and phosphorylated tau at threonine 181 (p181tau) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are now validated biomarkers. The proapoptotic kinase R (PKR), is activated by Aβ accumulates in degenerating neurons in AD brains and controls protein synthesis and indirectly tau phosphorylation.
Methods: In a prospective cohort study, the CSF of 91 patients were studied (AD: 45; amnestic mild cognitive impairment: 11; neurological disease control subjects [NDC]: 35). The levels of total PKR (T-PKR), phosphorylated PKR (pPKR), Aß 1-42, T-tau, and p181tau were assessed by immunoblotting or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods. Receivers operating characteristic curves were used to examine the discriminatory power of T-PKR, pPKR, and pPKR/T-PKR ratio between AD and NDC patients.
Results: Total PKR and pPKR concentrations were elevated in AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment subjects. We have determined a pPKR value (optical density units) that could discriminate AD patients from control subjects with a sensitivity of 91.1% and a specificity of 94.3%. Among AD patients, T-PKR and pPKR levels correlate with CSF p181tau levels. Some AD patients with normal CSF Aß, T-tau, or p181tau levels had abnormal T-PKR and pPKR levels.
Conclusions: The evaluation of CSF T-PKR and pPKR can discriminate between AD patients and NDC and could help to improve the biochemical diagnosis of AD.
Copyright © 2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.