Review

Prevention of Alzheimer's disease in high risk groups: statin therapy in subjects with PSEN1 mutations or heterozygosity for apolipoprotein E epsilon 4

Daniel A Pollen1*, Stephen Baker2, Douglas Hinerfeld3, Joan Swearer1, Barbara A Evans4, James E Evans4, Richard Caselli5, Ekaterina Rogaeva6, Peter St George-Hyslop678 and Majaz Moonis1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA

2 Bioinformatics Unit, Information Services and Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA

3 Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA

4 Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655

5 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, USA

6 University of Toronto, Department of Medicine, Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5 S 3H2

7 Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto and Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario, Canada

8 Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0XY, UK

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Alzheimer's Research & Therapy 2010, 2:31  doi:10.1186/alzrt55

Published: 29 October 2010

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

Because cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) abnormalities in presymptomatic subjects with PSEN1 (presenilin 1) mutations may be observed 4 to 12 years prior to the estimated age at onset, it is possible to test putative therapies on the CSF analytes that correlate with neurodegeneration during this presymptomatic window of clinical opportunity. It is also possible to test the same therapy on a comparison group with increased risk status conferred by both hyperlipidemia and heterozygosity for apolipoprotein Eε4. To our knowledge, the only putative therapy thus far tested in such a common design has been statin therapy. The results of these tests show increases in soluble amyloid precursor protein (sAPP)α correlating with statin-induced decreases in serum cholesterol levels in the non-PSEN1 subjects. This result could be one functional correlate for part of the substantial risk reduction for late onset Alzheimer's disease recently reported in the Rotterdam study, a large, long-term prospective statin trial. Statin therapy significantly decreased both sAPPα and sAPPβ in presymptomatic PSEN1 subjects. Initially, elevated phospho-tau levels in PSEN1 subjects did not further increase during the 2 to 3 years of statin therapy, possibly indicative of a prophylactic effect. These results suggest that large and longer term trials of statin therapy correlating changes in CSF biomarker levels with clinical course may be warranted in both presymptomatic PSEN1 and non-PSEN1 subjects.