Combined plasma biomarkers for diagnosing mild cognition impairment and Alzheimer's disease

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Dec 18;4(12):1530-6. doi: 10.1021/cn400129p. Epub 2013 Oct 23.


A highly sensitive immunoassay, the immunomagnetic reduction, is used to measure several biomarkers for plasma that is related to Alzheimer's disease (AD). These biomarkers include Aβ-40, Aβ-42, and tau proteins. The samples are composed of four groups: healthy controls (n=66), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n=22), very mild dementia (n=23), and mild-to-serve dementia, all due to AD (n=22). It is found that the concentrations of both Aβ-42 and tau protein for the healthy controls are significantly lower than those of all of the other groups. The sensitivity and the specificity of plasma Aβ-42 and tau protein in differentiating MCI from AD are all around 0.9 (0.88-0.97). However, neither plasma Aβ-42 nor tau-protein concentration is an adequate parameter to distinguish MCI from AD. A parameter is proposed, which is the product of plasma Aβ-42 and tau-protein levels, to differentiate MCI from AD. The sensitivity and specificity are found to be 0.80 and 0.82, respectively. It is concluded that the use of combined plasma biomarkers not only allows the differentiation of the healthy controls and patients with AD in both the prodromal phase and the dementia phase, but it also allows AD in the prodromal phase to be distinguished from that in the dementia phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult
  • tau Proteins / blood*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • tau Proteins