Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Immune Cells May Help Predict Alzheimer's Risk

Date:
July 29, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
UCLA scientists have discovered a way to measure the amount of amyloid beta that is being absorbed by immune cells in the blood. Amyloid beta forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and if the immune system isn't adequately clearing amyloid beta, it may indicate Alzheimer's risk, according to the researchers.

Red monocytes from the healthy control group (left) show uptake of amyloid beta (green), while Alzheimer's patients (right) show very little uptake or none at all.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles

What if you could test your risk for Alzheimer's disease much like your cholesterol levels — through a simple blood test?

UCLA scientists have discovered a way to measure the amount of amyloid beta that is being absorbed by immune cells in the blood. Amyloid beta forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and if the immune system isn't adequately clearing amyloid beta, it may indicate Alzheimer's risk, according to the researchers.

MP Biomedicals LLC, a global life sciences and diagnostics company dedicated to Alzheimer's disease research, has received an exclusive, worldwide license to commercialize the UCLA technology and create a diagnostic blood test for public use to screen for Alzheimer's risk.

"Early diagnosis is the cornerstone of preventive approaches to Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Milan Fiala, lead author of the UCLA study and a researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "We are pleased that the process we've identified using immune cells to help predict Alzheimer's risk will be further developed by MP Biomedicals."

"We are excited by the opportunity to forward the UCLA science in creating a cost-effective blood test to screen for Alzheimer's risk that could be used in any hospital or lab," said Milan Panic, CEO of MP Biomedicals.

Dr. Miodrag Micic, vice president of research and development for MP Biomedicals, noted that other blood tests for Alzheimer's diagnosis measure factors such as inflammation and infection, which are also present in other diseases like atheroclerosis and may complicate the interpretation of results.

The recently published study on the process identified by UCLA, which uses the "innate" immune system present at birth, appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

In the study, researchers took blood samples and isolated monocytes, which from birth act as the immune system's janitors, traveling through the brain and body and gobbling up waste products — including amyloid beta. The monocytes were incubated overnight with amyloid beta, which was labeled with a fluorescent marker. Using a common laboratory method known as flow cytometry, researchers then measured the amount of amyloid beta ingested by the immune cells by assessing how much fluorescence was being emitted from each monocyte cell.

The 18 Alzheimer's disease patients in the study showed the least uptake of amyloid beta; the healthy control group, which consisted of 14 university professors, demonstrated the highest uptake. The method was able to distinguish with adequate sensitivity and specificity the Alzheimer's disease patients.

The results were found to be positive in 94 percent of the Alzheimer's patients and negative in 100 percent of the university professor control group. In addition, the results were found to be positive in 60 percent of study participants who suffered from mild cognitive impairment, a condition that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

"Patients and control subjects were also tracked over time to see if their immune response changed," Fiala said. For example, an Alzheimer's disease patient over time showed declining results, while a university professor continued to demonstrate a high uptake of amyloid beta.

Micic noted that the new method could be a flag for further testing and interventions.

"Similar to screening patients for heart disease risk by a cholesterol test, a positive result for Alzheimer's risk in some patients may suggest further interventions and advanced diagnostics, such as a brain PET scan and neurocognitive testing."

The study was funded in part by MP Biomedicals LLC. Fiala is a consultant for the company and also served in the company's speakers bureau.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "How Immune Cells May Help Predict Alzheimer's Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713124714.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, July 29). How Immune Cells May Help Predict Alzheimer's Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713124714.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "How Immune Cells May Help Predict Alzheimer's Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713124714.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins