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2008 Grants - Prodan
Coated Platelets: A Potential Biomarker for Alzheimer's Disease
Calin Prodan, M.D.
University of Oklahoma, Health Science Center
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
Currently, there is no test for Alzheimer's disease that resembles a blood test, and diagnosis depends on tests of neurological and cognitive function. Identification of a biomarker for the disease—a biochemical change that can be reliably measured and that definitively indicates the presence of disease —is a crucial step toward more reliable diagnosis, as well as the ability to monitor progression of the disease or response to treatment.
Calin Prodan, M.D., and colleagues are studying a certain subset of blood platelets, called coated platelets, as a potential biomarker for Alzheimer's disease or risk of the disease. (Platelets are the components of blood that enable it to clot at the site of a wound.)
Dr. Prodan's team has found that coated platelets bind with amyloid precursor protein (APP), the parent molecule of the beta-amyloid protein fragment. And the researchers have observed a relationship between coated platelet production and the progression of Alzheimer's disease. People in early stages of Alzheimer's disease progression have higher levels of coated platelets than people in more advanced stages of the disease. Furthermore, the researchers observed that people with memory-related mild cognitive impairment (MCI), who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, have higher levels of coated platelets as compared with people who have other forms of MCI. They also found that people with MCI who had high coated platelet levels were more likely to progress to Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Prodan and colleagues plan to extend their studies of coated platelets to a much larger group of research participants. They will measure levels of coated platelets in people with MCI and study the correlation between those levels and progression to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. This study may help to determine if coated platelet levels are a valid biomarker of the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Such a biomarker could be a valuable resource to a large number of researchers studying the disease and testing treatments in clinical trials.