suPAR and Cognitive Decline

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Measuring inflammation's impact on ethnoracial differences in Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a common neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive memory loss. Cardiovascular disease and AD share inflammation as a common pathogenic mechanism, and recent epidemiologic data suggests that differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors are implicated in racial disparities in the prevalence and incidence of AD.

Current research shows an increase in peripheral molecules involved in innate immunity and inflammation such as human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR7 and interleukin (IL)-1b, IL-2 and IL-6 in AD patients with cognitive impairment. Biomarkers that accurately reflect inflammatory burden and could identify AD patients that would benefit from anti-inflammatory therapies earlier in the disease progression. The urokinase receptor system has recently been shown to play an important role in brain development, its functioning and pathology, with high levels of brain uPAR expression correlating with central nervous system diseases such as epilepsy, autism, AD, AIDS dementia and others.

With evidence that the urokinase receptor system is a key regulator of the intersection between inflammation, immunity and coagulation, we believe suPAR, as the circulating form of the protein, is the biomarker to examine.

Our project has begun with the use of the University of Michigan's Alzheimer's Disease Center Memory and Aging Project (UM-MAP); participants are seen for annual, standardized neurological and neuropsychological assessments. By measuring suPAR levels in the these samples, we hope to correlate suPAR with cognitive function and brain volume, and determine whether suPAR levels at baseline can predict an eventual decline. We are also looking at ehtnoracial differences in suPAR levels and the association with potential cognitive decline.

Find the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center (MADC).

Learn more about dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer's Disease.

Consider participating in the UM-MAP study.

See the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC) for other research opportunities.