Publications & Posters

Blood-based high sensitivity measurements of beta-amyloid and phosphorylated tau as biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease: a focused review on recent advances

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry | September 11, 2021

Chong JR, Ashton NJ, Karikari TK, Tanaka T, Schöll M, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Chen CP and Lai MKP

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 2021:jnnp-2021-327370


Discovery and development of clinically useful biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias have been the focus of recent research efforts. While cerebrospinal fluid and positron emission tomography or MRI-based neuroimaging markers have made the in vivo detection of AD pathology and its consequences possible, the high cost and invasiveness have limited their widespread use in the clinical setting. On the other hand, advances in potentially more accessible blood-based biomarkers had been impeded by lack of sensitivity in detecting changes in markers of the hallmarks of AD, including amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides and phosphorylated tau (P-tau). More recently, however, emerging technologies with superior sensitivity and specificity for measuring Aβ and P-tau have reported high concordances with AD severity. In this focused review, we describe several emerging technologies, including immunoprecipitation-mass spectrometry (IP-MS), single molecule array and Meso Scale Discovery immunoassay platforms, and appraise the current literature arising from their use to identify plaques, tangles and other AD-associated pathology. While there is potential clinical utility in adopting these technologies, we also highlight the further studies needed to establish Aβ and P-tau as blood-based biomarkers for AD, including validation with existing large sample sets, new independent cohorts from diverse backgrounds as well as population-based longitudinal studies. In conclusion, the availability of sensitive and reliable measurements of Aβ peptides and P-tau species in blood holds promise for the diagnosis, prognosis and outcome assessments in clinical trials for AD.