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The new diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) include brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, with the aim of increasing the certainty of whether a patient has an ongoing AD neuropathologic process or not. Three CSF biomarkers, Aß42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau, reflect the core pathological features of AD. It is already known that these pathological processes of AD starts decades before the first symptoms, so these biomarkers may provide means of early disease detection. At least three stages of AD could be identified: preclinical AD, mild cognitive impairment due to AD, and dementia due to AD. In this review, we aim to summarize the CSF biomarker data available for each of these stages. We also review the actual research on blood-based biomarkers. Recent studies on healthy elderly subjects and on carriers of dominantly inherited AD mutations have also found biomarker changes that allow separate groups in these preclinical stages. These studies may aid for segregate populations in clinical trials and objectively evaluate if there are changes over the pathological processes of AD. Limits to widespread use of CSF biomarkers, apart from the invasive nature of the process itself, is the higher coefficient of variation for the analyses between centres. It requires strict pre-analytical and analytical procedures that may make feasible multi-centre studies and global cut-off points for the different stages of AD.
Alzheimer’s diseaseAmyloid betaBiomarkersCerebrospinal fluidPhosphorylated tauReviewTotal tauDemenciaNeurodegeneración