Potential Use of Exfoliated and Cultured Olfactory Neuronal Precursors for In Vivo Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis: A Pilot Study

  • Agustín Riquelme
  • Marcela Valdés-Tovar
  • Oscar Ugalde
  • Vanessa Maya-Ampudia
  • Monserrat Fernández
  • Leticia Mendoza-Durán
  • Leslye Rodríguez-Cárdenas
  • Gloria Benítez-KingEmail author
Original Research


Histopathological hallmarks of dementia have been described postmortem in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Tau, a microtubule associated protein, is abnormally arranged in neurofibrillary tangles. In living AD patients, total tau (t-tau) and hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) levels are increased in the cerebrospinal fluid obtained by lumbar puncture. Herein, we studied the t-tau and p-tau levels as well as the subcellular distribution of t-tau in olfactory neuronal precursors obtained by exfoliation of the nasal cavity of AD patients and control participants. Data showed that t-tau and p-tau levels were increased in cell homogenates from AD patients. Also, t-tau immunoreactivity was arranged in a punctate pattern in olfactory neuronal precursors derived from an AD participant with 5 years of evolution and in the oldest participants, either control subjects or those with Alzheimer’s disease. Results support that exfoliated neuronal precursors have tau alterations demonstrated in postmortem brain and in the cerebrospinal fluid. This evidence and because the obtainment of olfactory neuronal precursors is a noninvasive procedure, detection of tau alterations shown here might be useful for an early diagnosis of AD-type dementia.


Olfactory neuronal precursors Alzheimer’s disease Tau Phospho-tau 



This study was supported by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT), México, Grant Number 178075 to Gloria Benítez-King.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (Comité de Ética en Investigación del Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz, IC122037.0) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agustín Riquelme
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marcela Valdés-Tovar
    • 1
  • Oscar Ugalde
    • 2
  • Vanessa Maya-Ampudia
    • 1
  • Monserrat Fernández
    • 2
  • Leticia Mendoza-Durán
    • 1
  • Leslye Rodríguez-Cárdenas
    • 1
  • Gloria Benítez-King
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Neurofarmacología, Subdirección de Investigaciones ClínicasInstituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente MuñizTlalpanMexico
  2. 2.Clínica de Psicogeriatría, Dirección de Servicios ClínicosInstituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente MuñizTlalpanMexico
  3. 3.Cellular Neuroanatomy Laboratory, Program in Neurobiology, Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas FilhoFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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