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New highly sensitive rodent and human tests for soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha quantification: preclinical and clinical applications in Alzheimer’s disease

Christiane Rose1, Katell Peoc’h2, Stéphanie Chasseigneaux12, Claire Paquet345, Julien Dumurgier3, Fanchon Bourasset2, Frédéric Calon6, Jean-Louis Laplanche2, Jacques Hugon345 and Bernadette Allinquant1*

Author affiliations

1 INSERM UMR 894, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Faculté de Médecine, Paris, France

2 Service de Biochimie et de Biologie moléculaire, Hôpital Lariboisière, AP-HP, Paris, France; Biologie cellulaire, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France

3 Centre Mémoire de Ressources et de Recherche Paris Nord Ile de France, Groupe Hospitalier Lariboisière Fernand Widal Saint-Louis, Université Paris VII, Paris, France

4 Laboratoire d’Histologie et de Biologie du Vieillissement, Groupe Hospitalier Lariboisière Fernand Widal Saint-Louis, Université Paris VII, Paris, France

5 INSERM U839, Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris, France

6 Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, Quebec, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:84  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-84

Published: 23 July 2012



Amyloid precursor protein (APP), a key molecule in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is metabolized in two alternative cleavages, generating either the amyloidogenic peptides involved in AD pathology or the soluble form of APP (sAPPα). The level of amyloidogenic peptides in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is considered to be a biomarker of AD, whereas the level of sAPPα in CSF as a biomarker has not been clearly established. sAPPα has neurotrophic and neuroprotective properties. Stimulating its formation and secretion is a promising therapeutic target in AD research. To this end, very sensitive tests for preclinical and clinical research are required.


The tests are based on homogenous time-resolved fluorescence and require no washing steps.


We describe two new rapid and sensitive tests for quantifying mouse and human sAPPα. These 20 μl-volume tests quantify the levels of: i) endogenous mouse sAPPα in the conditioned medium of mouse neuron primary cultures, as well as in the CSF of wild-type mice, ii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD mouse models, and iii) human sAPPα in the CSF of AD and non-AD patients. These tests require only 5 μl of conditioned medium from 5 × 104 mouse primary neurons, 1 μl of CSF from wild-type and transgenic mice, and 0.5 μl of human CSF.


The high sensitivity of the mouse sAPPα test will allow high-throughput investigations of molecules capable of increasing the secretion of endogenous sAPPα in primary neurons, as well as the in vivo validation of molecules of interest through the quantification of sAPPα in the CSF of treated wild-type mice. Active molecules could then be tested in the AD mouse models by quantifying human sAPPα in the CSF through the progression of the disease. Finally, the human sAPPα test could strengthen the biological diagnosis of AD in large clinical investigations. Taken together, these new tests have a wide field of applications in preclinical and clinical studies.

Alzheimer’s disease; Soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha; Homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence; Rodent; Human; Cerebrospinal fluid; Primary neurons; Sensitivity