Autophagy and mitophagy biomarkers are reduced in sera of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment

Massimiliano Castellazzi, Simone Patergnani, Mariapina Donadio, Carlotta Giorgi, Massimo Bonora, Cristina Bosi, Gloria Brombo, Maura Pugliatti, Davide Seripa, Giovanni Zuliani, Paolo Pinton

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Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder characterized by a progressive memory loss and impairment in cognitive and functional abilities. Autophagy and mitophagy are two important cellular processes by which the damaged intracellular components are degraded by lysosomes. To investigate the contribution of autophagy and mitophagy in degenerative diseases, we investigated the serum levels of specific autophagic markers (ATG5 protein) and mitophagic markers (Parkin protein) in a population of older patients by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Two hundred elderly (≥65 years) outpatients were included in the study: 40 (20 F and 20 M) with mild-moderate late onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD); 40 (20 F and 20 M) affected by vascular dementia (VAD); 40 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI); 40 (20 F and 20 M) with “mixed” dementia (MD); 40 subjects without signs of cognitive impairment were included as sex-matched controls. Our data indicated that, in serum samples, ATG5 and Parkin were both elevated in controls, and that VAD compared with AD, MCI and MD (all p < 0.01). Patients affected by AD, MD, and MCI showed significantly reduced circulating levels of both ATG5 and Parkin compared to healthy controls and VAD individuals, reflecting a significant down-regulation of autophagy and mitophagy pathways in these groups of patients. The measurement of serum levels of ATG5 and Parkin may represent an easily accessible diagnostic tool for the early monitoring of patients with cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20009
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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