Researchers are increasingly interested in a new biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.
Its name: TREM-2.
This protein can be found in the cerebrospinal fluid several years before the symptoms of the disease appear… And could be used to predict the speed at which the disease spreads.
These findings come from a study recently published in Science Translational Medicine journal.
The German team behind this work studied the case of 127 people from the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) cohort.
All are carriers of a genetic mutation that will eventually lead them to develop Alzheimer’s disease. But for now, none of them has any symptoms.
The team calculated that the level of TREM2 begins to increase in the cerebrospinal fluid 5 to 7 years before the onset of symptoms, after the release of the amyloid protein and the tau protein in the fluid.
These findings are important because they determine the location of inflammation and immune response in the cascade of events that lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
TREM-2 is indeed an immune-response marker. It is released by microglia cells in the brain in response to neuronal death and brain atrophy.
The concentration of this marker increases steadily through time in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and could therefore allow doctors to determine how quickly the disease is spreading in a patient’s brain.
According to the researchers behind the study, this biomarker could also be used to measure the effectiveness of drugs that target the root of the disease.
This study demonstrates that we must seriously consider the immune route in the series of events that trigger Alzheimer’s disease.
And who knows, one day it may even become a therapeutic avenue …