Lessons About Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias From GFAP, sTREM2 Astrocytes: Lynn Bekris, PhD

The molecular biologist at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute discussed research on the use of GFAP and sTREM2 in discerning dementia with Lewy bodies from Alzheimer disease. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"We wanted to address the question of whether these biomarkers can change early in the mild cognitive impairment stage. And if so, this would suggest that inflammation is occurring early in the disease process."

Having tools that can accurately distinguish diseases like dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from Alzheimer disease (AD) remains a critical unmet need in the field. Previous research has linked soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2), a myeloid cell activity marker, to AD risk, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), an astrocyte activity marker, to astrogliosis in a number of neurologic disorders. Led by Lynn Bekris, PhD, a study presented at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 31 to August 4, in San Diego, California, explored differences in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of both sTREM2 and GFAP in AD and AD-related dementias (ADRD).

The cohort of patients in the study included those diagnosed with AD, DLB, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or Parkinson disease, as well as cognitively normal controls (CN). Using multiple platforms such as the Luminex/Millipore and Meso Scale Discovery systems, findings suggested that inflammatory factors, CSF levels of sTREM2, GFAP, and α-synuclein are altered in both AD and DLB. All told, the findings could potentially help future immunotherapeutic strategies that seek to target immune response in AD and ADRD.

To learn more about the research, NeurologyLive® sat down with Bekris, who serves as a molecular biologist at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. She provided insight on the reasons for the study, why there is expressed interest from the community, and whether the findings reveal more about biomarker changes vs cognitive stages.

Click here for more coverage of AAIC 2022.

1. Jain L, Khrestian M, Tuason ED, et al. Cerebrospinal fluid glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2) in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). Presented at: 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 31 to August 4; San Diego, CA. 68332
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