New finding may improve diagnosis of vascular dementia

In a new study, researchers have found a new biomarker for vascular dementia, lipocalin 2 protein. This protein is present in the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain.

The research was conducted by a team at the Medical Center of Göttingen University and elsewhere.

Vascular dementia is caused by a defect in blood flow arrival to the brain, which consequently generates neuronal damage.

Until now, its diagnosis has been quite complicated because only neuroimaging methods, such as a scanner, and the appearance of symptoms were available.

The lack of more precise and specific methods creates confusion with other neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

In the study, patient samples from four independent groups have demonstrated that the cerebrospinal fluid of people affected by vascular dementia has higher levels of lipocalin 2.

The results in four sample groups convert lipocalin 2 to a firm candidate for vascular dementias diagnosis.

In contrast to diagnosis methods available until now, lipocalin 2 could discriminate vascular dementia from Alzheimer’s, since the second does not show lipocalin 2 increase.

The study shows that only patients with vascular dementia, but not those with cerebral vascular damage without dementia, exhibit this increase.

The high diagnostic specificity of this protein further highlights its potential as a biomarker.

To determine the role of lipocalin 2 in the brain of patients with vascular dementia, brain tissue samples from the biobank HUB-ICO-IDIBELL were studied.

These studies showed that glial cells are expressing lipocalin 2, and its expression pattern is different in vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Isidre Ferrer, head of the Neuropathology group of IDIBELL and CIBERNED.

The study is published in Nature Communications.

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