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Genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease associated with altered lipid metabolism

Researchers see new potential for diagnostic markers prior to onset of symptoms.

Changes in lipid metabolism, previously already found in association with the sporadic form of Alzheimer’s disease, have now also been found in the inherited variant of the disease, write Australian researchers in the «Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease». Lipid levels may therefore present a new option for the early diagnosis of the neurodegenerative disease.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Perth analysed samples from 20 participants from the DIAN study (Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network). All participants were carriers of a mutation, which is responsible for a form of Alzheimer’s disease that is, in rare instances, inherited.

When analysing the samples, researchers found that the participants had altered levels of specific lipids in their blood plasma compared with controls who did not carry the mutation. The phospholipid and sphingolipid metabolism were mainly affected. The changes were comparable with those found in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.

The study results still need to be confirmed in a larger cohort, emphasised the researchers. They indicate, however, that altered lipid levels are a suitable early diagnostic marker for Alzheimer’s disease, allowing for diagnosis of the disease prior to onset of symptoms

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