Biomarkers in Alzheimer's disease: a review

ISRN Pharmacol. 2012;2012:984786. doi: 10.5402/2012/984786. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia affecting millions of individuals worldwide. It is currently diagnosed only via clinical assessments and confirmed by postmortem brain pathology. The development of validated biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease is essential to improve diagnosis and accelerate the development of new therapies. Biochemical and neuroimaging markers could facilitate diagnosis, predict AD progression from a pre-AD state of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and be used to monitor efficacies of disease-modifying therapies. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of Aβ40, Aβ42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau have diagnostic values in AD. Measurements of the above CSF markers in combination are useful in predicting the risk of progression from MCI to AD. New potential biomarkers are emerging, and CSF or plasma marker profiles may eventually become part of the clinician's toolkit for accurate AD diagnosis and management. These biomarkers along with clinical assessment, neuropsychological testing, and neuroimaging could achieve a much higher diagnostic accuracy for AD and related disorders in the future.