Predictors and biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) In collaboration with Dr. Ed Goetzl from UCSF and other investigators, we developed a methodology for isolating blood exosomes and enriching them for neuronal origin by immunoprecipitation using neuronal surface markers NCAM and L1 CAM. To date, we have conducted five case control studies measuring exosomal Ab, tau, Ser and Tyr phosphorylated IRS-1, and other proteins, in AD and control subjects. We found highly significant differences that, for some proteins, accurately discriminate between the two groups. In addition, exosomal differences may be present at the preclinical stage and may predict AD. I published five manuscript on the topic (in the journals Alzheimer's and Dementia, FASEB J (twice), Neurology, and Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology). One major goal for the coming year is to validate exosomal markers as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of AD in large cohorts from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), The Harvard Aging Brain Study, and the WRAP (Wisconsin). The BLSA, Harvard Aging Brain Study, and WRAP are ideal to assess longitudinal changes in these markers and their potential to predict AD at the preclinical stage, disease progression and conversion from MCI to AD. In collaboration with the NIA 3T MRI Facility manager, Dr. David Reiter, I have employed a novel Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) methodology at the NIA 3T MRI facility, which allows us to obtain in vivo measures on brain metabolites (glucose, lactate) and neurotransmitters (glutamate and GABA), which are relevant to AD pathogenesis. First, I conducted a study of healthy volunteers combining MRS with resting fMRI, which provides measures of brain functional connectivity, and showed a link between neurotransmitter levels and brain connectivity. The study was pubmished in Neuroimage. In a case-control study of patients with MCI/AD and healthy volunteers, we show higher glucose and lactate, and lower glutamate and GABA in patients compared to controls, suggesting that these MRS markers may be used as diagnostic biomarkers for AD. The manuscript is currently under preparation. I also studied the association between cognitive performance and clinical status in AD and CSF inflammatory markers and found that higher levels of one particular pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-12, predicts better cognition and less brain atrophy; this manuscript is currently under review. In collaboration with Dr. Mohamad El Haj from University of Lille, France, we conducted three studies on autobiographical generation of past and future events in a cohort of AD patients compared to controls. We found that future and past events are more similar in patients compared to controls and that the ability to generate future events is closely related with the patient's episodic memory. In addition, the ability to generate future events was associated with Frontal Lobe functions. These findings suggest that remembering the past and imagining the future rely on common brain structures, which are both impaired in AD. We published two studies describing these findings in the journals Neuropsychologia, Hippocampus, and Journal of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, we published two systematic review on Episodic Memory in aging and AD, and on the effects on APOE in the journal Aging Research Reviews. Treatment studies in AD I conduct a proof of concept Phase II, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial to assess the safety and tolerability of exendin-4 (exenatide) treatment in participants with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)/early AD. To this date, 57 participants have been enrolled and started on treatment with study drug (exenatide or placebo). Participants receive study drug for 18 months and outcome measures are being collected every six months. Sixteen participants completed the study, six participants withdrew from the study, and six continue participation. My goal for the new year is to reach the enrollment target of forty participants. I also continue to conduct a Phase I, double-blind, placebo-controlled, ascending, single-dose, safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic study of Bisnorcymserine, a selective butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor, in healthy volunteers. Inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase is a novel therapeutic approach for symptomatic treatment in moderate/advanced AD. Finally, this year we acquired final IRB approval for a study of Intermittent caloric restriction (ICR)implementing 5-2 CR (alternating 5 days of regular calorie intake and 2 days of CR). This is a 8-week study of 5-2 CR in overweight middle aged subjects to assess potential beneficial effects on insulin resistance, metabolism, cognitive performance, fMRI activity and biomarkers. If this study is positive, ICR may be a candidate intervention for primary prevention of AD at midlife.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Investigator-Initiated Intramural Research Projects (ZIA)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Zip Code
Goetzl, Edward J; Nogueras-Ortiz, Carlos; Mustapic, Maja et al. (2018) Deficient neurotrophic factors of CSPG4-type neural cell exosomes in Alzheimer disease. FASEB J :fj201801001
El Haj, Mohamad; Coello, Yann; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios et al. (2018) Negative Prospective Memory in Alzheimer's Disease: ""Do Not Perform That Action"". J Alzheimers Dis 61:663-672
Becker, Robert E; Greig, Nigel H; Lahiri, Debomoy K et al. (2018) (-)-Phenserine and Inhibiting Pre-Programmed Cell Death: In Pursuit of a Novel Intervention for Alzheimer's Disease. Curr Alzheimer Res 15:883-891
Mullins, Roger; Reiter, David; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios (2018) Magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals abnormalities of glucose metabolism in the Alzheimer's brain. Ann Clin Transl Neurol 5:262-272
Guix, Francesc X; Corbett, Grant T; Cha, Diana J et al. (2018) Detection of Aggregation-Competent Tau in Neuron-Derived Extracellular Vesicles. Int J Mol Sci 19:
Lewczuk, Piotr; Riederer, Peter; O'Bryant, Sid E et al. (2018) Cerebrospinal fluid and blood biomarkers for neurodegenerative dementias: An update of the Consensus of the Task Force on Biological Markers in Psychiatry of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry. World J Biol Psychiatry 19:244-328
Gill, Jessica; Mustapic, Maja; Diaz-Arrastia, Ramon et al. (2018) Higher exosomal tau, amyloid-beta 42 and IL-10 are associated with mild TBIs and chronic symptoms in military personnel. Brain Inj 32:1277-1284
Fitzgerald, Kathryn C; Vizthum, Diane; Henry-Barron, Bobbie et al. (2018) Effect of intermittent vs. daily calorie restriction on changes in weight and patient-reported outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord 23:33-39
Becker, Robert E; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios; Greig, Nigel H (2018) Does traumatic brain injury hold the key to the Alzheimer's disease puzzle? Alzheimers Dement 14:431-443
Goetzl, Edward J; Abner, Erin L; Jicha, Gregory A et al. (2018) Declining levels of functionally specialized synaptic proteins in plasma neuronal exosomes with progression of Alzheimer's disease. FASEB J 32:888-893

Showing the most recent 10 out of 52 publications