Introduction: Low content of cell-free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a biomarker of early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD), but whether mtDNA is altered in a rapid neurodegenerative dementia such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is unknown.
Methods: CSF mtDNA was measured using digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) in two independent cohorts comprising a total of 112 patients diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), probable AD, or non-Alzheimer's type dementia.
Results: Patients with AD exhibit low mtDNA content in CSF compared with patients diagnosed with sCJD or with non-Alzheimer's type dementias. The CSF concentration of mtDNA does not correlate with Aβ, t-tau, p-tau, and 14-3-3 protein levels in CSF.
Discussion: Low-CSF mtDNA is not a consequence of brain damage and allows the differential diagnosis of AD from sCJD and other dementias. These results support the hypothesis that mtDNA in CSF is a pathophysiological biomarker of AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Biomarker; Cerebrospinal fluid; Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; Digital PCR; Mitochondrial DNA.
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