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Alzheimer diseaseBiomarcatoreBiomarkerBlood analysisMorbo di AlzheimerNAPA


Nowadays, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is based exclusively on clinical evaluation, cerebrospinal fluid analysis and/or medical and nuclear radiology. However, none of these approaches is sensitive enough to provide a definitive early diagnosis. In addition, despite many ongoing projects, there is currently no clinically validated molecular biomarker for AD detection, that is, a molecule that can be quantified by a simple blood test. Such a biomarker, which is predictive of the disease or related to its occurrence and progress, and which allows its development to be evaluated over time, would therefore be extremely useful. N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine or NAPE, lipids naturally present in human plasma, appear to be able to perform this function. It’s the first time these molecules are associated with neurodegenerative phenomena in humans.

Technical features

NAPE levels increase in response to cell stress conditions, especially following degenerative changes in the plasma membrane. In AD patients, in particular, it has been documented how NAPE levels increase significantly in the cortex, hippocampus and lower colliculus. Based on these considerations, plasma samples of AD patients were analyzed by comparing them with those of cognitively healthy individuals, chosen from control subjects homogeneous by gender and age. Subsequently, the data were grouped and analysed using multivariate analysis techniques, as a result of which a group of NAPE was identified which made it possible to distinguish patients from healthy subjects. The discriminating effectiveness of NAPE was then confirmed by further statistical analysis and a correlation model was defined for each molecule, based on its increase (“upregulation”) or decrease (“downregulation”) compared to controls. Following this analysis work, NAPE has proven to be effective predictors of AD diagnosis. TRL 2/3.

Possible Applications

  • Early diagnosis and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Monitoring the progress of the disease but also the effectiveness of possible therapeutic interventions


  • Possibility to diagnose a patient with Alzheimer’s disease even without the presence of clinically significant symptoms
  • Possibility to diagnose the disease with a simple blood sample
  • Reproducible, simple and affordable
  • Possibility to make withdrawals directly at the patient’s home, without the need to physically go to the hospital (dried blood spot technique)