High performance liquid chromatography determination of l-glutamate, l-glutamine and glycine content in brain, cerebrospinal fluid and blood serum of patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease

Tommaso Nuzzo, Andrea Mancini, Mattia Miroballo, Alessia Casamassa, Anna Di Maio, Giorgia Donati, Giulia Sansone, Lorenzo Gaetani, Federico Paolini Paoletti, Andrea Isidori, Paolo Calabresi, Francesco Errico, Lucilla Parnetti, Alessandro Usiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Altered glutamatergic neurotransmission is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Accordingly, the identification of peculiar biochemical patterns reflecting AD-related synaptopathy in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could have relevant diagnostic and prognostic implications. In this study, we measured by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography the amount of glutamate, glutamine and glycine in post-mortem brain samples of AD patients, as well as in CSF and blood serum of drug-free subjects encompassing the whole AD clinical spectrum (pre-clinical AD, n = 18, mild cognitive impairment-AD, n = 29, dementia AD, n = 30). Interestingly, we found that glutamate and glycine levels, as well as total tau protein content, were significantly reduced in the superior frontal gyrus of patients with AD, compared with non-demented controls. No significant change was also found in glutamate, glutamine and glycine CSF concentrations between AD patients and neurological controls. Remarkably, serum glutamate levels were significantly higher in patients affected by early AD phases compared to controls, and were negatively correlated with CSF total tau levels. Conversely, serum glutamine concentration was significantly increased in AD patients, with a negative correlation with MMSE performances. Finally, we reported a significant correlation between serum l-glutamate concentrations and CDR score in female but not in male cohort of AD subjects. Overall, our results suggest that serum glutamate and glutamine levels in AD patients could vary across disease stages, potentially reflecting the progressive alteration of glutamatergic signaling during neurodegenerative processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-449
Number of pages15
JournalAmino Acids
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • l-Glutamate
  • l-Glutamine
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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