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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 169203, 14 pages
Review Article

Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells as a Laboratory to Study Dementia in the Elderly

1Geriatric Unit, Fondazione Ca’ Granda, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via Pace 9, 20122 Milan, Italy
2Geriatric Unit, Department of Medical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Via Pace 9, 20122 Milan, Italy
3Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment University of Teramo, Piazza Aldo Moro 45, 64100 Teramo, Italy
4Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet CMM L8:01, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden
5European Center for Brain Research, Santa Lucia Foundation, IRCCS, Via del Fosso di Fiorano 64, 00143 Rome, Italy
6Center of Integrated Research, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy

Received 31 January 2014; Accepted 28 March 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Maria de Luca

Copyright © 2014 Beatrice Arosio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The steady and dramatic increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the lack of effective treatments have stimulated the search for strategies to prevent or delay its onset and/or progression. Since the diagnosis of dementia requires a number of established features that are present when the disease is fully developed, but not always in the early stages, the need for a biological marker has proven to be urgent, in terms of both diagnosis and monitoring of AD. AD has been shown to affect peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that are a critical component of the immune system which provide defence against infection. Although studies are continuously supplying additional data that emphasize the central role of inflammation in AD, PBMCs have not been sufficiently investigated in this context. Delineating biochemical alterations in AD blood constituents may prove valuable in identifying accessible footprints that reflect degenerative processes within the Central Nervous System (CNS). In this review, we address the role of biomarkers in AD with a focus on the notion that PBMCs may serve as a peripheral laboratory to find molecular signatures that could aid in differential diagnosis with other forms of dementia and in monitoring of disease progression.