Objective: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether fluid and imaging astrocyte biomarkers are altered in Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods: PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched for articles reporting fluid or imaging astrocyte biomarkers in AD. Pooled effect sizes were determined with mean differences (SMD) using the Hedge's G method with random-effects to determine biomarker performance. Adapted questions from QUADAS-2 were applied for quality assessment. A protocol for this study has been previously registered in PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42020192304).
Results: The initial search identified 1,425 articles. After exclusion criteria were applied, 33 articles (a total of 3,204 individuals) measuring levels of GFAP, S100B, YKL-40 and AQP4 in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), as well as MAO-B, indexed by positron emission tomography 11C-deuterium-L-deprenyl ([11C]-DED), were included. GFAP (SMD = 0.94; 95% CI = 0.71-1.18) and YKL-40 (SMD = 0.76; CI 95% = 0.63-0.89) levels in the CSF, S100B levels in the blood (SMD = 2.91; CI 95% = 1.01-4.8) were found significantly increased in AD patients.
Conclusions: Despite significant progress, applications of astrocyte biomarkers in AD remain in their early days. The meta-analysis demonstrated that astrocyte biomarkers are consistently altered in AD and supports further investigation for their inclusion in the AD clinical research framework for observational and interventional studies.
© 2021 American Academy of Neurology.