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4bases’ Paper of the month – August 2023 – Gut microbiome composition may be an indicator of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Washington, individuals in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) exhibit a distinct gut microbiome composition compared to healthy individuals.

AD is a disease that begins developing many years before the typical symptoms (memory loss, cognitive decline, poor judgement, mood variations…) appear, characterized by neurodegeneration and the accumulation of pathologic β-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. This early stage is referred to as the preclinical phase, but its detection is challenging due to the absence of cognitive impairment, necessitating thorough medical examination.

In this study, the researchers collected stool samples from cognitively normal individuals, both with and without preclinical AD, over a span of two years. They performed bacterial genome sequencing to analyze the gut microbiome and discovered significant differences during the preclinical phase of AD. Their key findings include:

  •  There were noticeable global variations in the composition of the gut microbiota between healthy subjects and those in the preclinical AD phase.
  •  The gut microbiome profiles correlated with the presence of pathologic β-amyloid and tau proteins, but not with neurodegeneration.
  •  Certain microbial features and pathways were specifically associated with either preclinical AD or healthy individuals.
  •  Incorporating gut microbiome features enhanced the performance of a classifier for determining preclinical AD status.

This groundbreaking research not only reinforces the hypothesis of an enteric neuroimmune axis in neurodegenerative diseases but also introduces the possibility of a readily accessible biomarker to detect signs of preclinical AD. Furthermore, it opens new avenues for potential drugs that can act on the gut microbiome to slow down the progression of AD.

At 4bases, we are delighted to collaborate with One Codex to provide cutting-edge and user-friendly tools for highly effective microbiome analysis.

Aura L. Ferreiro ; Joohee Choi; Jian Ryou; Erin P. Newcomer ; Regina Thompson ; Rebecca M. Bollinger ; Carla hall-moore; I. Malick Ndao ; Laurie Sax ;  Gautam Dantas et al. Gut microbiome composition may be an indicator of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

The entire study: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/scitranslmed.abo2984


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