Objectives: This longitudinal study compared emerging plasma biomarkers for neurodegenerative disease between controls, patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).
Methods: Plasma phosphorylated tau at threonine-181 (p-tau181), amyloid beta (Αβ)42, Aβ40, neurofilament light (NfL) and glial fibrillar acidic protein (GFAP) were measured using highly sensitive single molecule immunoassays (Simoa) in a multicentre cohort of 300 participants (controls=73, amyloid positive mild cognitive impairment (MCI+) and AD dementia=63, LBD=117, FTD=28, PSP=19). LBD participants had known positron emission tomography (PET)-Aβ status.
Results: P-tau181 was elevated in MCI+AD compared with all other groups. Aβ42/40 was lower in MCI+AD compared with controls and FTD. NfL was elevated in all dementias compared with controls while GFAP was elevated in MCI+AD and LBD. Plasma biomarkers could classify between MCI+AD and controls, FTD and PSP with high accuracy but showed limited ability in differentiating MCI+AD from LBD. No differences were detected in the levels of plasma biomarkers when comparing PET-Aβ positive and negative LBD. P-tau181, NfL and GFAP were associated with baseline and longitudinal cognitive decline in a disease specific pattern.
Conclusion: This large study shows the role of plasma biomarkers in differentiating patients with different dementias, and at monitoring longitudinal change. We confirm that p-tau181 is elevated in MCI+AD, versus controls, FTD and PSP, but is less accurate in the classification between MCI+AD and LBD or detecting amyloid brain pathology in LBD. NfL was elevated in all dementia groups, while GFAP was elevated in MCI+AD and LBD.
Keywords: alzheimer's disease; dementia; frontotemporal dementia; lewy body dementia; movement disorders.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.