Introduction: Neuroinflammation and synaptic degeneration are major neuropathological hallmarks in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Neurogranin and YKL-40 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are newly discovered markers indicating synaptic damage and microglial activation, respectively.
Methods: CSF samples from 95 individuals including 39 patients with AD dementia (AD-D), 13 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD (MCI-AD), 29 with MCI not due to AD (MCI-o) and 14 patients with non-AD dementias (non-AD-D) were analyzed for neurogranin and YKL-40.
Results: Patients with dementia or MCI due to AD showed elevated levels of CSF neurogranin (p < 0.001 for AD-D and p < 0.05 for MCI-AD) and YKL-40 (p < 0.05 for AD-D and p = 0.15 for MCI-AD) compared to mildly cognitively impaired subjects not diagnosed with AD. CSF levels of neurogranin and YKL-40 did not differ between MCI not due to AD and non-AD dementias. In AD subjects no correlation between YKL-40 and neurogranin was found. The CSF neurogranin levels correlated moderately with tau and p-tau but not with Aβ42 or the MMSE in AD samples. No relevant associations between YKL-40 and MMSE or the core AD biomarkers, Aβ42, t-tau and p-tau were found in AD subjects.
Conclusions: Neurogranin and YKL-40 are promising AD biomarkers, independent of and complementary to the established core AD biomarkers, reflecting additional pathological changes in the course of AD.