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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • biomarkers;
  • cerebrospinal fluid;
  • immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry;
  • matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization;
  • neurodegenerative disorders;
  • proteomics;
  • surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization;
  • techniques

Neurodegenerative disorders are characterized by neuronal impairment that eventually leads to neuronal death. In spite of the brain’s known capacity for regeneration, lost neurons are difficult to replace. Therefore, drugs aimed at inhibiting neurodegenerative processes are likely to be most effective if the treatment is initiated as early as possible. However, clinical manifestations in early disease stages are often numerous, subtle and difficult to diagnose. This is where biomarkers that specifically reflect onset of pathology, directly or indirectly, may have a profound impact on diagnosis making in the future. A triplet of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), total and hyperphosphorylated tau and the 42 amino acid isoform of β-amyloid, has already been established for early detection of AD before the onset of dementia. However, more biomarkers are needed both for AD and for other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This review provides an update on recent advances in clinical neuroproteomics, a biomarker discovery field that has expanded immensely during the last decade, and gives an overview of the most commonly used techniques and the major clinically relevant findings these techniques have lead to.