Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia and is characterized by neuroaxonal and synaptic degeneration accompanied by intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles and accumulation of extracellular plaques in specific brain regions. These features are reflected in the AD cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by increased concentrations of total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau (p-tau), together with decreased concentrations of β-amyloid (Aβ42), respectively. In combination, Aβ42, p-tau and t-tau are 85-95% sensitive and specific for AD in both prodromal and dementia stages of the disease and they are now included in the diagnostic research criteria for AD. However, to fully implement these biomarkers into clinical practice, harmonization of data is needed. This work is ongoing through the standardization of analytical procedures between clinical laboratories and the production of reference materials for CSF Aβ42, p-tau and t-tau. To monitor other aspects of AD neuropathology, e.g., synaptic dysfunction and/or to develop markers of progression, identifying novel candidate biomarkers is of great importance. Based on knowledge from the established biomarkers, exemplified by Aβ and its many variants, and emerging data on neurogranin fragments as biomarker candidate(s), a thorough protein characterization in order to fully understand the diagnostic value of a protein is a suggested approach for successful biomarker discovery.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Biomarker; Cerebrospinal fluid; Diagnosis; Tau; β-Amyloid.
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