CSF levels of heart fatty acid binding protein are altered during early phases of Alzheimer's disease

Davide Chiasserini, Lucilla Parnetti, Ulf Andreasson, Henrik Zetterberg, David Giannandrea, Paolo Calabresi, Kaj Blennow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heart fatty acid binding protein (HFABP) has been proposed as a putative marker for dementia disorders. To evaluate the value of this protein as an early marker of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we analyzed HFABP level and the classical biomarkers amyloid-β (Aβ)1-42, total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) followed up for four years (n=41), AD (n=32), and subjects with other neurological diseases without dementia (OND, n=25). HFABP levels were higher in AD patients and in MCI converting to AD (MCI-AD) with respect to OND and to cognitively stable MCI patients (MCI-MCI). The receiver operator characteristics analysis for HFABP alone showed a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 81% for AD versus OND (area under the curve, AUC=0.83); sensitivity and specificity were 46% and 94%, respectively, when comparing MCI-MCI versus MCI-AD. CSF HFABP levels showed a strong positive correlation with both t-tau and p-tau. Interestingly, the ratio between HFABP and Aβ1-42 improved the performance in distinguishing AD from OND (sensitivity: 90%; specificity 82%, AUC=0.89), and gave the best accuracy in discriminating MCI-AD from MCI-MCI (sensitivity: 80%; specificity 100%, AUC=0.90). Survival analysis by means of Kaplan-Meier curve showed a significantly higher proportion of MCI patients converting to AD in the group with higher values of HFABP/Aβ1-42 ratio (cut-off=0.7). A significant correlation between HFABP/Aβ1-42 ratio and MMSE annual decrease rate was also documented (p<0.0001). HFABP /Aβ1-42 ratio might be a useful predictor of conversion in MCI patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1288
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid-β
  • biomarkers
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • heart fatty acid binding protein
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • phosphorylated tau
  • total-tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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