A loss of synaptic density and connectivity is observed in multiple brain regions of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, resulting in a reduced expression of synaptic proteins such as SNAP-25 (synaptosomal-associated-protein-25). SNAP-25 alterations thus could be an index of the degree of synaptic degeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). We isolated from serum of both AD patients and healthy controls (HC) a population of neuron-derived exosomes (NDEs) and measured the concentrations of SNAP-25 contained in such NDEs. The levels of SNAP-25 carried by NDEs were reduced in AD patients (mean 459.05 ng/ml, SD 146.35 ng/ml) compared to HC (mean 686.42 ng/ml, SD 204.08 ng/ml) (p < 0.001). As a further confirmation of these results, ROC (receiver operating characteristic) analyses indicated that the level of SNAP-25 carried by NDEs has the power to discriminate between AD and HC (AUC = 0.826, sensitivity = 87.5%, specificity = 70.6%, p < 0.0001, cut-off value 587.07 ng/ml). Notably, a correlation between the levels of SNAP-25 carried by NDEs and levels and cognitive status measured by MMSE score (r = 0.465, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.714, p = 0.01) was detected. This is the first report of SNAP-25 measurement in serum. These data suggest that NDE-carried SNAP-25 could be an effective and accessible biomarker that reflects synapses integrity in the brain.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Synaptic proteins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience