Mental Health Signs News – Researchers at the DZNE – German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases identified blood molecules that can predict impending dementia.
Prof. André Fischer, the spokesperson at the DZNE site in Göttingen, led the study and analyzed the data from young cognitively healthy people and older people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The study findings, published in the scientific journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, discovered that levels of certain microRNA can indicate cognitive decline risk.
Fischer and his colleagues found a biomarker based on measuring the so-called microRNAs in blood. They recognized three microRNAs whose levels were interlinked with mental performance. In cognitively healthy people, the levels were associated with mental fitness. Meanwhile, the biomarker was highly uplifted in the individuals with MCI and 90% of them developed Alzheimer’s disease within only two years.
“We, therefore, see an increased blood level of these three microRNAs as a harbinger of dementia. We estimate that in humans this biomarker indicates a development that is about two to five years in the future,” said Fischer.
Extensive studies on mice and cell culture showed that the recognized microRNAs can influence inflammatory processes in the brain and “neuroplasticity”. It implies that these microRNAs are not only warning signals but also potential targets for dementia therapy.
“Indeed, we see in mice that learning ability improves when these microRNAs are blocked with drugs. We’ve observed this in mice with age-related mental deficits, as well as in mice with brain damage similar to that occurring in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Fischer.
However, the novel bio-marker is not appropriate for practical utilization. The researchers are still working on further studies to develop a simple low-cost blood test that can be used during routine checkups in doctors’ practices to detect dementia risk at the early onset.
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Islam MR, Kaurani L, Berulava T, Heilbronner U, Budde M, Centeno TP, Elerdashvili V, Zafieriou MP, Benito E, Sertel SM, Goldberg M, Senner F, Kalman JL, Burkhardt S, Oepen AS, Sakib MS, Kerimolgu C, Wirths O, Bickeböller H, Bartels C, Brosseron F, Buerger K, Cosma NC, Fliessbach K, Heneka MT, Janowitz D, Kilimann I, Kleinedam L, Laske C, Metzger CD, Munk MH, Perneczky R, Peters O, Priller J, Rauchmann BS, Roy N, Schneider A, Spottke A, Spruth EJ, Teipel S, Tscheuschler M, Wagner M, Wiltfang J, Düzel E, Jessen F; Delcode Study Group, Rizzoli SO, Zimmermann WH, Schulze TG, Falkai P, Sananbenesi F, Fischer A. A microRNA signature that correlates with cognition and is a target against cognitive decline. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Oct 11:e13659. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202013659. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34633146.