Study finds Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in tears

Larger study planned to validate pilot results

Cheryl Guttman Krader

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Results from a pilot trial conducted at Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, suggest the possibility of using tear biomarkers as a diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was presented by Marlies Gijs, PhD at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Vancouver, Canada. The study analysed levels of total-tau and amyloid-beta 42 in tear samples collected using Schirmer strips from 34 subjects who represented four subgroups: persons with Alzheimer’s disease, persons with mild cognitive impairment, persons with subjective cognitive impairment, and age-matched healthy controls.

Dr Gijs reported that the concentration of total tau increased with increasing dementia severity and that the concentration of amyloid-beta 42 decreased with increasing disease severity. A Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis showed that the discriminatory power of the tear biomarkers for the Alzheimer’s disease state was better than that of the same biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.

“We are now planning a larger study with 306 patients to validate these pilot results,” said Dr Gijs.


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