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High Content, Multi-Parameter Analyses in Buccal Cells to Identify Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disorder and is the most common form of dementia. Minimally invasive approaches are required that combine biomarkers to identify individuals who are at risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD, to appropriately target clinical trials for therapeutic discovery as well as lifestyle strategies aimed at prevention. Buccal mucosa cells from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing cohort (n=60) were investigated for cytological markers that could be used to identify both MCI and AD individuals. Visual scoring of the buccal cytome demonstrated a significantly lower frequency of basal and karyorrhectic cells in the MCI group compared with controls. A high content, automated assay was developed using laser scanning cytometry to simultaneously measure cell types, nuclear DNA content and aneuploidy, neutral lipid content, putative Tau and amyloid-β (Aβ) in buccal cells. DNA content, aneuploidy, neutral lipids and Tau were similar in all groups. However, there was significantly lower Tau protein in both basal and karyolytic buccal cell types compared with differentiated buccal cells. Aβ, as measured by frequency of cells containing Aβ signal, as well as area and integral of Aβ signal, was significantly higher in the AD group compared with the control group. Buccal cell Aβ was correlated with mini-mental state examination (MMSE) scores (r = -0.436, P=0.001) and several blood-based biomarkers. Combining newly identified biomarkers from buccal cells with those already established may offer a potential route for more specific biomarker panels which may substantially increase the likelihood of better predictive markers for earlier diagnosis of AD.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; DNA content; amyloid; buccal cells; laser scanning cytometry; mild cognitive impairment; neutral lipids

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2016

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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