A protein may hold the promise of an early blood test for the development of Alzheimer’s disease, a Perth neuroscientist has found
Dr Veer Bala Gupta has identified apolipoprotein E as a potential indicator for Alzheimer’s by showing lower levels of the protein in those with the disease, compared to those who remain healthy.
“Recent neuro-imaging scans have confirmed that lower blood apolipoprotein E levels correspond with the build-up of a toxic protein, amyloid beta, which is shown to accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease,” says Veer, a research fellow at Edith Cowan University
“To get an understanding of the importance of apolipoprotein E in tracking disease progression, I undertook a follow-up study at 18 months in the same set of people. Surprisingly, I found a further decline in the blood apolipoprotein E levels in the people with Alzheimer’s disease, confirming the relationship between apolipoprotein E and the risk of the onset of the disease,” she says.
Veer says individual blood proteins have historically been less successful in predicting complicated illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her research therefore focused on finding a unique combination of different proteins that best defined the disease pathology when studied together.
“This unique group of proteins could serve as a fingerprint for early identification of this devastating disease. This is important because early detection can give clinicians an opportunity to treat the disease in its initial stages,” she says.