discovery of a promising blood biomarker for early diagnosis

An increase in the concentration of the blood protein GFAP could be an early indicator of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a Swedish study.

Alzheimer’s disease, caused by the degeneration of neurons in the brain, results in episodic memory loss and motor disorders. However, when the first symptoms appear, the cerebral lesions at the origin of this disease have already been present for years in the tissues! Although scientific knowledge about this disease continues to evolve, one question still remains unanswered: is it possible to diagnose this disease before the first symptoms appear?

Individuals who have a 50% risk of developing the disease

A team of researchers specializing in familial Alzheimer’s disease (see box below) has identified a protein biomarker, the GFAP protein, which could act as an early indicator of the disease. The Swedish study, conducted within the Karolinska Institutet, a collaboration with Landspitali University Hospital (Iceland), the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and University College London (UK), published its first results in the journal Brain on January 11, 2023. The presence of this protein, as well as other biomarkers in high concentrations in the blood, could prevent the onset of the disease decades before the first symptoms appear.

“Familial” Alzheimer’s disease or autosomal dominant, is said to be hereditary because it is of genetic origin. When one of the parents is a carrier of a defective mutation in the PSEN1 or PSEN2 genes, children have a 50% risk of developing the disease. However, when it is not hereditary, Alzheimer’s disease is said to be sporadic: that is to say, it is due to a complex combination of our genes, our environment and our lifestyle. The most important risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease remains aging.

A change in protein concentration in the blood for decades […]


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