A team of scientists and clinicians at LSU Health Shreveport, collaborating across the Centers for Brain Health and Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences, had their groundbreaking findings on a new blood biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia published in the prestigious “Alzheimer’s & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association”. LSUHS faculty Drs. Elizabeth Disbrow, Chris Kevil, Steve Alexander, and Karen Stokes were joined by colleagues from the Vascular Medicine Institute at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center and the Department of Computer Science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
There is growing appreciation for the important role cerebrovascular disease plays in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). The newly identified plasma biomarker for ADRD, hydrogen sulfide, is already a known biomarker for cardiovascular disease. The team used cutting edge analytical biochemical methods developed at LSU Health Shreveport in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Kevil to measure plasma hydrogen sulfide metabolites, MRI to evaluate indicators of microvascular disease as well as cognitive testing to determine biomarker performance. Hydrogen sulfide and its metabolites were clearly linked to ADRD, which had not been previously reported or shown. Furthermore, cognitive and microvascular disease indicators were also correlated with hydrogen sulfide levels. Overall hydrogen sulfide levels were the strongest indicator of ADRD and mediated the relationship between cognitive dysfunction and the amount of brain lesion. These findings clearly indicate that hydrogen sulfide is dysregulated in dementia, providing a potential biomarker for early diagnosis, disease progression and intervention in ARDS.
Because the rise in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is becoming a national health crisis, identifying and treating its underlying causes is a critical health challenge. While amyloid “plaques” and Tau “tangles” play mechanistic roles in AD, cardiovascular complications are also significant risk factors for dementia. The current thinking is that cerebrovascular dysfunction occurs early in ADRD, and therefore may be an important early diagnostic marker and a fruitful therapeutic target, making this newly identified biomarker highly clinically significant.
This work was supported by an Institutional Development Award from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number 3P2012130701A1S1 and HL149264
Interviews are available by request with those contributing to this publication.