The performance of plasma amyloid beta measurements in identifying amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease: a literature review

Abby L. Brand, Paige E. Lawler, James G. Bollinger, Yan Li, Suzanne E. Schindler, Melody Li, Samir Lopez, Vitaliy Ovod, Akinori Nakamura, Leslie M. Shaw, Henrik Zetterberg, Oskar Hansson, Randall J. Bateman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The extracellular buildup of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Detection of Aβ pathology is essential for AD diagnosis and for identifying and recruiting research participants for clinical trials evaluating disease-modifying therapies. Currently, AD diagnoses are usually made by clinical assessments, although detection of AD pathology with positron emission tomography (PET) scans or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis can be used by specialty clinics. These measures of Aβ aggregation, e.g. plaques, protofibrils, and oligomers, are medically invasive and often only available at specialized medical centers or not covered by medical insurance, and PET scans are costly. Therefore, a major goal in recent years has been to identify blood-based biomarkers that can accurately detect AD pathology with cost-effective, minimally invasive procedures. To assess the performance of plasma Aβ assays in predicting amyloid burden in the central nervous system (CNS), this review compares twenty-one different manuscripts that used measurements of 42 and 40 amino acid-long Aβ (Aβ42 and Aβ40) in plasma to predict CNS amyloid status. Methodologies that quantitate Aβ42 and 40 peptides in blood via immunoassay or immunoprecipitation-mass spectrometry (IP-MS) were considered, and their ability to distinguish participants with amyloidosis compared to amyloid PET and CSF Aβ measures as reference standards was evaluated. Recent studies indicate that some IP-MS assays perform well in accurately and precisely measuring Aβ and detecting brain amyloid aggregates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid beta
  • Amyloidosis
  • Biomarker
  • Blood
  • Plasma


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