Nav: Home

Progranulin and dementia -- a blood sample does not tell the full story!

May 25, 2016

Progranulin is a central protein in both neuronal survival and neurodegenerative diseases. It is thus not surprising that altered progranulin levels represent a universal theme shared across several common neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer's Disease, for instance, reduced brain levels of progranulin contribute to the specific amyloid disease pathology, while increased levels appear to protect against this pathology. In genetic forms of another type of dementia, namely frontotemporal dementia (FTD), progranulin levels can be reduced. As progranulin can be measured relatively easily in blood, it seemed that a promising new biomarker for types of dementia has now been found. In fact, treatments were proposed to increase progranulin levels, aiming to yield a therapeutic effect for many neurodegenerative diseases. It was suggested to take progranulin in blood as a measure of response for these future treatments.

Carlo Wilke and Matthis Synofzik from the Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research & German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Tübingen, Germany, have now shown that, unfortunately, the full story of progranulin is not that simple. The levels of progranulin in blood do not correlate with the levels of progranulin in the liquid surrounding the brain (cerebrospinal fluid) - neither in Alzheimer's Disease or in Frontotemporal Dementia, nor in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). But it is the brain where these neurodegenerative diseases actually take place. It seems that the progranulin levels around the brain are regulated by different mechanisms than the progranulin levels in the body periphery, e.g. in blood.

These findings shed new light on the understanding of the biological processes underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's Disease and other common neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, they have important implications for clinical research and practice in these diseases: simply taking a blood sample for progranulin will not tell a lot about what happens to progranulin in the brain.

These results maybe disappointing, at first glance, for researchers and pharmaceutical companies aiming to discover biomarkers and treatment measures but they prevent from working on possibly misleading biomarker and treatment trials. Such trials indeed need to focus, not on blood progranulin, but on central nervous progranulin.
-end-
Carlo Wilke, Frank Gillardon, Christian Deuschle, Evelyn Dubois, Markus A. Hobert, Jennifer Müller vom Hagen, Stefanie Krüger, Saskia Biskup, Cornelis Blauwendraat, Michael Hruscha, Stephan A. Kaeser, Peter Heutink, Walter Maetzler and Matthis Synofzik

Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

Reference: Wilke C. et al. (2016). Serum Levels of Progranulin Do Not Reflect Cerebrospinal Fluid Levels in Neurodegenerative Disease, Curr. Alzheimer Res., DOI 10.2174/1567205013666160314151247

The article can be found from the following link on Bentham Science Publishers' website: http://benthamscience.com/journals/current-alzheimer-research/volume/13/issue/6/page/654/

Bentham Science Publishers

Related Dementia Articles:

Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia
A research team from the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece, have studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Dementia: The right to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.
One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia
At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.
Rural dementia -- we need to talk
Research carried out by Plymouth University into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern which need to be addressed if dementia in the countryside is to be managed.
Women with dementia receive less medical attention
Women with dementia have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, new UCL research reveals.
Dementia on the downslide, especially among people with more education
In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation's brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds.
New study suggests rethink of dementia causes
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a new theory for the causes of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, involving an out-of-control immune system.
Bleeding stroke associated with onset of dementia
Bleeding within the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, was associated with a high risk of developing dementia post stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.
Dementia: New insights into causes of loss of orientation
The University of Exeter Medical School led two studies, each of which moves us a step closer to understanding the onset of dementia, and potentially to paving the way for future therapies.

Related Dementia Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...