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Veronica J. James, Jill C. Richardson, Terry A. Robertson, John M. Papadimitriou, Nichole S. Dutton, Moira A.L. Maley, Lev M. Berstein, Olga E. Lantseva, Ralph N Martins
Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(2): CR53-57
Background:Studies of molecular changes in hair as possible biomarkers for specific cancers revealed an additional molecular change in the diffraction patterns of some persons aged over 75. This change was found to correlate with the presence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To confirm this correlation and its relation to the presence of a human APP mutation, known to definitely cause AD, hairs were examined from AD patients, pregnant women known to have an increase in plasma beta amyloid and transgenic mice carrying a mutated human APP gene.Material/Methods:Patients were clinically examined by an experienced physician who recorded the patient’s history and completed physical and neurological examinations. Hair samples were held taut and centred in the beam. The diffraction patterns were collected on Fuji-Bas Imaging plates and analysed using standard programs.Results:A fan-shaped set of spot-like reflections was observed in the equatorial diffraction patterns from the hair of all AD patients and all third trimester pregnant women. Combined fibre diffraction of hair and histopathologic examination of brains from transgenic mice carrying a mutated human APP gene confirmed that these changes are related to the mutated human APP genes and the formation of beta amyloid plaques.Conclusions:Here we show results that fibre diffraction analysis would provide a non-invasive, accurate bio-marker for Alzheimer’s disease. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that this marker is related to the presence of mutated human APP genes and indicate that the structural change precedes the significant development of plaques.