Plasma amyloid concentration in Alzheimer's disease: performance of a high-throughput amyloid assay in distinguishing Alzheimer's disease cases from controls


  • I. Feinkohl
  • C.G. Schipke
  • J. Kruppa
  • F. Menne
  • G. Winterer
  • T. Pischon
  • O. Peters


  • Journal of Alzheimer's Disease


  • J Alzheimers Dis 74 (4): 1285-1294


  • BACKGROUND: Collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for measurement of amyloid-β (Aβ) species is a gold standard in Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnosis, but has risks. Thus, establishing a low-risk blood Aβ test with high AD sensitivity and specificity is of outmost interest. OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the ability of a commercially available plasma Aβ assay to distinguish AD patients from biomarker-healthy controls. METHOD: In a case-control design, we examined plasma samples from 44 AD patients (A + N+) and 49 controls (A-N-) from a memory clinic. AD was diagnosed using a combination of neuropsychological examination, CSF biomarker analysis and brain imaging. Total Aβ40 and total Aβ42 in plasma were measured through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology using ABtest40 and ABtest42 test kits (Araclon Biotech Ltd.). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses with outcome AD were performed, and sensitivity and specificity were calculated. RESULTS: Plasma Aβ42/40 was weakly positively correlated with CSF Aβ42/40 (Spearman's rho 0.22; p = 0.037). Plasma Aβ42/40 alone was not able to statistically significantly distinguish between AD patients and controls (AUC 0.58; 95% CI 0.46, 0.70). At a cut-point of 0.076 maximizing sensitivity and specificity, plasma Aβ42/40 had a sensitivity of 61.2% and a specificity of 63.6%. CONCLUSION: In this sample, the high-throughput blood Aβ assay was not able to distinguish well between AD patients and controls. Whether or not the assay may be useful in large-scale epidemiological settings remains to be seen.