Potential fluid biomarkers for pathological brain changes in Alzheimer's disease: Implication for the screening of cognitive frailty

Qingwei Ruan, Grazia D'Onofrio, Daniele Sancarlo, Antonio Greco, Zhuowei Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive frailty (CF) overlaps with early neuropathological alterations associated with aging-related major neurocognitive disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Fluid biomarkers for these pathological brain alterations allow for early diagnosis in the preclinical stages of AD, and for objective prognostic assessments in clinical intervention trials. These biomarkers may also be helpful in the screening of CF. The present study reviewed the literature and identified systematic reviews of cohort studies and other authoritative reports. The selection criteria for potentially suitable fluid biomarkers included: i) Frequent use in studies of fluid-derived markers and ii) evidence of novel measurement techniques for fluid-derived markers. The present study focused on studies that assessed these biomarkers in AD, mild cognitive impairment and non-AD demented subjects. At present, widely used fluid biomarkers include cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), total tau, phosphorylated tau and amyloid-β levels. With the development of novel measurement techniques and improvements in understanding regarding the mechanisms underlying aging-related major neurocognitive disorders, numerous novel biomarkers associated with various aspects of AD neuropathology are being explored. These include specific measurements of Aβ oligomer or monomer forms, tau proteins in the peripheral plasma and CSF, and novel markers of synaptic dysfunction, neuronal damage and apoptosis, neuronal activity alteration, neuroinflammation, blood brain barrier dysfunction, oxidative stress, metabolites, mitochondrial function and aberrant lipid metabolism. The proposed panels of fluid biomarkers may be useful in the early diagnosis of AD, prediction of the progression of AD from preclinical stages to the dementia stage, and the differentiation of AD from non-AD dementia. In combination with physical frailty, the present study surmised that these biomarkers may also be used as biomarkers for CF, thus contribute to discovering causes and informing interventions for cognitive impairment in individuals with CF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3184-3198
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Medicine Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognitive frailty
  • Fluid-derived markers
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Preclinical AD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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