Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) represent a mounting public health challenge. As these diseases are difficult to diagnose clinically, biomarkers of underlying pathophysiology are playing an ever-increasing role in research, clinical trials, and in the clinical work-up of patients. Though cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and positron emission tomography (PET)-based measures are available, their use is not widespread due to limitations, including high costs and perceived invasiveness. As a result of rapid advances in the development of ultra-sensitive assays, the levels of pathological brain- and AD-related proteins can now be measured in blood, with recent work showing promising results. Plasma P-tau appears to be the best candidate marker during symptomatic AD (i.e., prodromal AD and AD dementia) and preclinical AD when combined with Aβ42/Aβ40. Though not AD-specific, blood NfL appears promising for the detection of neurodegeneration and could potentially be used to detect the effects of disease-modifying therapies. This review provides an overview of the progress achieved thus far using AD blood-based biomarkers, highlighting key areas of application and unmet challenges.
Keywords: Alzheimer; Aβ; P-tau; biomarkers; blood.
© 2021 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.