Blood-Based Oligomeric and Other Protein Variant Biomarkers to Facilitate Pre-Symptomatic Diagnosis and Staging of Alzheimer's Disease

Stephanie M. Williams, Philip Schulz, Terrone L. Rosenberry, Richard J. Caselli, Michael Sierks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Oligomeric forms of amyloid-β (Aβ), tau, and TDP-43 play important roles in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and therefore are promising biomarkers. We previously generated single chain antibody fragments (scFvs) that selectively bind disease-related variants of these proteins including A4, C6T, and E1, which bind different oligomeric Aβ variants; D11C, which binds oligomeric tau; and AD-TDP1 and AD-TDP2, which bind disease related TDP-43 variants. To determine the utility of these disease-related variants as early biomarkers, we first analyzed 11 human sera samples obtained ∼2 years prior to an initial mild cognitive impairment (MCI) diagnosis. While the subsequent diagnoses for the cases covered several different conditions, all samples had elevated protein variant levels relative to the plasma controls although with different individual biomarker profiles. We then analyzed a set of longitudinal human plasma samples from four AD (encompassing time points prior to MCI diagnosis and continuing until after conversion to AD) and two control cases. Pre-MCI samples were characterized by high TDP-43 variant levels, MCI samples by high Aβ variant levels, and AD samples by high Aβ and tau variant levels. Sample time points ranged from ∼7 years pre-MCI to ∼9 years after AD conversion. Bivariate correlations showed a negative correlation with TDP-43 levels and positive correlations with cumulative Aβ and oligomeric tau levels indicating an increase in neurodegenerative processes with time in AD. Detection of disease related protein variants not only readily selects AD cases from controls, but also stages progression of AD and holds promise for a pre-symptomatic blood-based biomarker profile for AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • TDP-43
  • amyloid-β
  • biomarkers
  • longitudinal
  • oligomers
  • plasma
  • sera
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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