Changes in Synaptic Proteins Precede Neurodegeneration Markers in Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease Cerebrospinal Fluid

Alberto Lleó, Raúl Núñez-Llaves, Daniel Alcolea, Cristina Chiva, Daniel Balateu-Paños, Martí Colom-Cadena, Gemma Gomez-Giro, Laia Muñoz, Marta Querol-Vilaseca, Jordi Pegueroles, Lorena Rami, Albert Lladó, José L Molinuevo, Mikel Tainta, Jordi Clarimón, Tara Spires-Jones, Rafael Blesa, Juan Fortea, Pablo Martínez-Lage, Raquel Sánchez-ValleEduard Sabidó, Àlex Bayés, Olivia Belbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A biomarker of synapse loss, an early event in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology that precedes neuronal death and symptom onset, would be a much-needed prognostic biomarker. With direct access to the brain interstitial fluid, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a potential source of synapse-derived proteins. In this study, we aimed to identify and validate novel CSF biomarkers of synapse loss in AD. Discovery: Combining shotgun proteomics of the CSF with an exhaustive search of the literature and public databases, we identified 251 synaptic proteins, from which we selected 22 for further study. Verification: Twelve proteins were discarded because of poor detection by Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM). We confirmed the specific expression of 9 of the remaining proteins (Calsynytenin-1, GluR2, GluR4, Neurexin-2A, Neurexin-3A, Neuroligin-2, Syntaxin-1B, Thy-1, Vamp-2) at the human synapse using Array Tomography microscopy and biochemical fractionation methods. Exploration: Using SRM, we monitored these 9 synaptic proteins (20 peptides) in a cohort of CSF from cognitively normal controls and subjects in the pre-clinical and clinical AD stages (n = 80). Compared with controls, peptides from 8 proteins were elevated 1.3 to 1.6-fold (p < 0.04) in prodromal AD patients. Validation: Elevated levels of a GluR4 peptide at the prodromal stage were replicated (1.3-fold, p = 0.04) in an independent cohort (n = 60). Moreover, 7 proteins were reduced at preclinical stage 1 (0.6 to 0.8-fold, p < 0.04), a finding that was replicated (0.7 to 0.8-fold, p < 0.05) for 6 proteins in a third cohort (n = 38). In a cross-cohort meta-analysis, 6 synaptic proteins (Calsyntenin-1, GluR4, Neurexin-2A, Neurexin-3A, Syntaxin-1B and Thy-1) were reduced 0.8-fold (p < 0.05) in preclinical AD, changes that precede clinical symptoms and CSF markers of neurodegeneration. Therefore, these proteins could have clinical value for assessing disease progression, especially in preclinical stages of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-560
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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