Spatiotemporal complexity of fibroblast networks screens for Alzheimer's disease

J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;33(1):165-76. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-120745.


Drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been unsuccessful in preventing its devastating cognitive deficits and progressive neurodegeneration. The lack of a definitive diagnostic for AD has been a major obstacle to AD drug discovery. Here, we describe a novel, highly accurate peripheral diagnostic for AD patients based on quantitatively measured complexity of skin-sampled fibroblast networks. A significant number of samples were studied under double-blind conditions and had autopsy and/or genetic validation. An additional sample confirmed the diagnostic discrimination on freshly obtained skin samples. A sub-sample of these diagnostic differences were induced by oligomerized amyloid-β1-42. Based on the accuracy of these measures that utilize physical principles such as fractal dimension and lacunarity as well as the significant correlation with disease duration, this biomarker profile appears to identify accurately AD patients for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards


  • Biomarkers