Serum beta-secretase 1 (BACE1) activity as candidate biomarker for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease

Carlo Cervellati, Alessandro Trentini, Valentina Rosta, Angelina Passaro, Cristina Bosi, Juana Maria Sanz, Stefania Bonazzi, Salvatore Pacifico, Davide Seripa, Giuseppe Valacchi, Remo Guerini, Giovanni Zuliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Beta-secretase (BACE1) is a key enzyme in the formation of amyloid-β; its activity/concentration is increased in brain and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD). Since BACE1 was found also in blood, we evaluated its potential as peripheral biomarker. To this aim, serum BACE1 activity was assessed in 115 subjects with LOAD and 151 controls. We found that BACE1 changed across groups (p < 0.001) with a 25% increase in LOAD versus controls. High levels of BACE1 (IV quartile) were independently associated with the diagnosis of LOAD (OR 2.8; 1.4–5.7). Diagnostic accuracy was 76% for LOAD. Our data suggest that increased BACE1 activity in serum may represent a potential biomarker for LOAD. Additional studies are needed to confirm the usefulness of BACE1, alone or in combination with other markers, in discriminating patients and predicting LOAD onset and progression.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • BACE1
  • Blood-based biomarkers
  • Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Mixed dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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