Differential roles of Aβ42/40, p-tau231 and p-tau217 for Alzheimer’s trial selection and disease monitoring.

14 September, 2023

Blood biomarkers indicative of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology are altered in both preclinical and symptomatic stages of the disease. Distinctive biomarkers may be optimal for the identification of AD pathology or monitoring of disease progression. Blood biomarkers that correlate with changes in cognition and atrophy during the course of the disease could be used in clinical trials to identify successful interventions and thereby accelerate the development of efficient therapies. When disease-modifying treatments become approved for use, efficient blood-based biomarkers might also inform on treatment implementation and management in clinical practice. In the BioFINDER-1 cohort, plasma phosphorylated (p)-tau231 and amyloid-β42/40 ratio were more changed at lower thresholds of amyloid pathology. Longitudinally, however, only p-tau217 demonstrated marked amyloid-dependent changes over 4-6 years in both preclinical and symptomatic stages of the disease, with no such changes observed in p-tau231, p-tau181, amyloid-β42/40, glial acidic fibrillary protein or neurofilament light. Only longitudinal increases of p-tau217 were also associated with clinical deterioration and brain atrophy in preclinical AD. The selective longitudinal increase of p-tau217 and its associations with cognitive decline and atrophy was confirmed in an independent cohort (Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention). These findings support the differential association of plasma biomarkers with disease development and strongly highlight p-tau217 as a surrogate marker of disease progression in preclinical and prodromal AD, with impact for the development of new disease-modifying treatments.