Boston Medical Centre researchers have detected a well-known biomarker for neurodegenerative diseases in the vitreous humor within the eye.
The biomarker, neurofilament light chain, a protein normally detected in the cerebrospinal fluid or blood, is currently being explored as an early indicator for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“One of the biggest priorities in Alzheimer’s disease research is to develop ways to diagnose the disease before the onset of symptoms, which would allow for early treatment that could help halt the progression of this fatal disease,” said lead author Dr Manju Subramanian, associate professor of ophthalmology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Researchers collected eye fluid samples from 77 patients who were undergoing previously scheduled eye surgery at Boston Medical Centre. Findings showed all 77 patients had neurofilament light chain in their vitreous humor, and higher levels were associated with higher levels of other biomarkers known to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, including amyloid-B and tau proteins. The study also showed neurofilament light chain levels were not significantly associated with eye disease, indicating those levels were not influenced by eye conditions affecting the patients.
The full study was published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.