, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 455-463
Date: 05 Jul 2011

Role of Cerebrospinal Fluid and Plasma Biomarkers in the Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disorders and Mild Cognitive Impairment

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Abstract

Biomarkers are one type of laboratory testing being developed in response to the therapeutic imperative for diseases that cause cognitive impairment and dementia. The role of biomarkers is already transforming the organization and conduct of clinical trials, and if successful will likely contribute in the future to the medical management of patients with these diseases. Despite the obvious utility of practicality of blood- or urine-based biomarkers, so far results from these fluid compartments have not been reproducible. In contrast, substantial progress has been made in cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. Here we review the stages of cerebrospinal fluid biomarker development for several common and unusual diseases that cause cognitive impairment and dementia, stressing the distinction between diagnostic and mechanistic biomarkers. Future applications will likely focus on diagnosis of latent or early-stage disease, assessment of disease progression, mechanism of injury, and response to experimental therapeutics.