Peripheral markers of Alzheimer's disease: Surveillance of white blood cells


Correspondence to: Kaneez Fatima Shad, PAP RSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link, Gadong BE 1410, Brunei Darussalam. E-mail:


Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. This is a mechanism of innate immunity, which may cause an increase in the number of monocytes and neutrophils circulating in the blood. Literature indicated that chronic inflammation might be a factor in developing neurological problems, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other similar illnesses. Our main objective is to identify peripheral markers of Alzheimer's disease and for that purpose; we are looking at the profile of white blood cells focusing on monocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes and basophils. Twenty-seven patients of Alzheimer's disease (AD), diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological tests were observed for their blood profile. Key observations during this study were that the levels of monocytes in the blood of the diagnosed AD patients were high irrespective of their age and sex. For those patients whose monocytes were in normal range their neutrophil levels were significantly high. Whereas blood levels of lymphocytes and basophils were found to be constantly low. Escalated levels of monocytes and neutrophils are hallmarks of chronic inflammation and may be precursor to Alzheimer's disease. A low lymphocyte count specifies that the body's resistance to fight infection is substantially reduced, whereas low basophil levels indicates their over utilization due to chronic allergic inflammatory condition. Future studies involved closer look at the cytokines produced by these white blood cells especially TNF IL-1, and IL-12, which are products of monocytes. Likewise, blood glucose and creatinine levels were high whereas calcium ions were low. Our studies indicated that white blood cells along with other inflammatory byproducts may act as peripheral markers for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Synapse 67:541–543, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.