SNAP-25 in Serum Is Carried by Exosomes of Neuronal Origin and Is a Potential Biomarker of Alzheimer’s Disease

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5792-5798
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Biomarker
  • Exosomes
  • Peripheral
  • SNAP-25
  • Synaptic proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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