Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin may be a biomarker for the progression of amnestic mild cognitive impairment

  • Shunjie Liu
  • Junhao Pan
  • Ke Tang
  • Qingfeng Lei
  • Lu He
  • Xiaodong Cai
  • Zhong LiEmail author
Original article


Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin (ACT), an acute-phase protein, has been reported to be increased in the brain and blood of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. However, few previous studies have focused on amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients. The aim of our study was to investigate the changing trend in ACT concentrations during the progression of aMCI. Hence, we measured the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum levels of ACT in aMCI subjects and normal controls (NC) at 2-year follow-up assessments using ELISA and Western blot. Forty-four NCs, 28 stable aMCI (sMCI) patients, and 20 progressive aMCI (pMCI) patients finished the follow-up assessments, and their data were used for analysis. We found that CSF and serum ACT levels of both sMCI and pMCI patients increased over time, while those of NCs remained stable; CSF and serum ACT levels were significantly higher in both sMCI and pMCI patients than in NCs, except for baseline serum ACT. In pMCI patients prior to developing AD, CSF and serum ACT levels were already significantly higher than those in sMCI patients. The ROC curve results demonstrated that combining CSF and serum ACT levels can distinguish aMCI patients from NCs with high specificity and sensitivity. Our data suggest that ACT may be a biomarker for diagnosing aMCI.


Alzheimer’s disease Amnestic mild cognitive impairment Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin Progression Biomarker 



Amnestic mild cognitive impairment


Alzheimer’s disease


Normal control


Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin


Stable amnestic mild cognitive impairment


Progressive amnestic mild cognitive impairment



Cerebrospinal fluid


Mini-mental state examination


Clinical dementia rating


Analysis of variance


Blood–brain barrier


Receiver-operating characteristic


The area under the curve



We thank all the subjects for participating in this study and the support by The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University.


This study was financially supported by The Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No: Z20140701201710181).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest to this work.

Ethical statement

The ethical committee of The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University approved this study and all subjects gave their written informed consent in accord with established human subject research procedures expressed in Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Belgian Neurological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyThe Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Shenzhen Research Institute of Sun Yat-Sen UniversityShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Function and DiseaseGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of PsychologySun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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