Biomarkers of neurodegeneration

Published on July 1, 2014 Archived on October 2, 2022   36 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Genetic Basis of Neurological Disorders

My name is Henrik Zetterberg. I'm a professor of neurochemistry at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and also at UCL Institute of Neurology in London. I will talk about biomarkers of neurodegeneration.
This is an overview of the talk. I will start with going through basic concepts on fluid biomarkers. Then I will talk about cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and also other neurodegenerative conditions. I will end the talk by going through cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of traumatic brain injury. And finally, I will talk about peripheral blood biomarkers for brain damage.
Why biomarkers, you could ask. One common use of biomarkers in other disease areas is as an aid in clinical diagnosis. This is actually relevant for the Alzheimer's disease biomarkers you will hear more about soon. One could also use biomarkers to aid in clinical prognosis making. Biomarkers could be used as inclusion criteria in clinical trials. They could be used as secondary outcome measures also in clinical trials to study pharmacodynamic effects of the drugs that the trial is testing. One could learn more about the disease process in clinical research. And then they could be used as a tool in translational research. You study the disease in a cell or animal model using different markers, and then you test if these show up in your patients. Finally, biomarkers can be used as endophenotypes in genetic studies. This is a rather new research area, but it has been very successful, resulting in many good papers during the last few years.
What samples should you choose if you study brain disorders. Biomarker research in brain disorders is a bit complicated by the blood-brain barrier, which shields the brain from peripheral toxins, bacteria, and things like that. There is no barrier between the cerebrospinal fluid and the brain, which means that changes in the brain interstitial fluid will be reflected more or less directly in cerebrospinal fluid, whereas it will be more difficult to see those changes in blood.