Feasible peripheral biomarker for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is lacking. Dysregulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is implicated in the pathogenesis of AD. D-amino acid oxidase (DAO) and amino acids can regulate the NMDA receptor function. This study aimed to examine whether peripheral DAO and amino acids levels are characteristic of age-related cognitive decline. We enrolled 397 individuals (including amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), mild AD, moderate to severe AD, and healthy elderly). DAO levels in the serum were measured using ELISA. Amino acids levels in serum were measured by high performance liquid chromatography. Severity of the cognitive deficits in subjects was assessed using Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR). The DAO levels increased with the severity of the cognitive deficits. DAO levels were significantly associated with D-glutamate and D-serine levels. The Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis of DAO levels for AD patients vs. healthy controls determined the optimal cutoff value, 30.10, with high sensitivity (0.842) and specificity (0.889) (area under curve = 0.928). This is the first study indicating that the peripheral DAO levels may increase with age-related cognitive decline. The finding supports the hypofunction of NMDA receptor hypothesis in AD. Whether DAO could serve as a potential surrogate biomarker needs further studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas