Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology develops many years before the onset of cognitive symptoms. Two pathological processes—aggregation of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide into plaques and the microtubule protein tau into neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs)—are hallmarks of the disease. However, other pathological brain processes are thought to be key disease mediators of Aβ plaque and NFT pathology. How these additional pathologies evolve over the course of the disease is currently unknown. Here we show that proteomic measurements in autosomal dominant AD cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) linked to brain protein coexpression can be used to characterize the evolution of AD pathology over a timescale spanning six decades. SMOC1 and SPON1 proteins associated with Aβ plaques were elevated in AD CSF nearly 30 years before the onset of symptoms, followed by changes in synaptic proteins, metabolic proteins, axonal proteins, inflammatory proteins and finally decreases in neurosecretory proteins. The proteome discriminated mutation carriers from noncarriers before symptom onset as well or better than Aβ and tau measures. Our results highlight the multifaceted landscape of AD pathophysiology and its temporal evolution. Such knowledge will be critical for developing precision therapeutic interventions and biomarkers for AD beyond those associated with Aβ and tau.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1979-1988
Number of pages10
JournalNature medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


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