Background: The literature contains conflicting results regarding the status of serum anti-Aβ antibody concentrations in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Reduced levels of these antibodies have been suggested to contribute to the development of this disorder. The conflicting results may be due to polyvalent antibodies, antibody "masking" due to Aβ binding, methodological differences, and/or small sample sizes. The objectives of this pilot study were to compare serum anti-Aβ antibody concentrations between AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and elderly noncognitively impaired (NCI) subjects while addressing these issues, and to perform power analyses to determine appropriate group sizes for future studies employing this appr oach.Methods: Serum antibodies to Aβ1-42 monomer and soluble oligomers in AD, MCI, and NCI subjects (10/group) were measured by ELISA, subtracting polyvalent antibody binding and dissociating antibody-antigen complexes. Differences in mean antibody levels were assessed for significance with repeated measures ANOVA using restricted maximum likelihood estimation, using Tukey-Kramer tests and confidence intervals for multiple comparisons. Spearman's rank correlation was used to determine associations between anti-monomer and anti-oligomer antibody concentrations. Estimated sample sizes required to detect effects of various sizes were calculated.Results: There were no significant differences between groups for mean anti-Aβ antibody levels, although these tended to be higher in AD than NCI specimens. Estimated group sizes of 328 and 150 for anti-Aβ monomer and oligomer antibodies, respectively, would have been required for 80% power for significance at 0.05 for a 25% increase in the AD mean relative to the NCI mean. Serum antibody concentrations to Aβ monomer and oligomers were strongly associated (correlations: 0.798 for undissociated sera, 0.564 for dissociated sera). Antibody-antigen dissociation significantly increased anti-Aβ monomer but not anti-Aβ oligomer antibody levels.Conclusions: The findings in this pilot study are consistent with relatively similar concentrations of specific, non-antigen-bound antibodies to Aβ1-42 monomer and soluble oligomers in AD, MCI, and NCI sera. The differences between groups for these antibodies would have required approximate group sizes of 328 and 150, respectively, for a high probability for statistical significance. These findings do not support the hypothesis that reduced levels of anti-Aβ antibodies might contribute to AD's pathogenesis. © 2011 Klaver et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Klaver, A. C., Coffey, M. P., Smith, L. M., Bennett, D. A., Finke, J. M., Dang, L., & Loeffler, D. A. (2011). ELISA measurement of specific non-antigen-bound antibodies to Aβ1-42 monomer and soluble oligomers in sera from Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitively impaired, and noncognitively impaired subjects. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-2094-8-93