Pathologies that lead to neurodegeneration in the central nervous system (CNS) represent a major contemporary medical challenge. Neurodegenerative processes, like those that occur in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are progressive, and at the moment, they are unstoppable. Not only is an adequate therapy missing but diagnosis is also extremely complicated. The most reliable method is the measurement of beta amyloid and tau peptides concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, collecting liquid samples from the CNS is an invasive procedure, thus it is not suitable for a large-scale prevention program. Ideally, blood testing is the most manageable and appropriate diagnostic procedure for a massive population screening. Recently, a few candidates, including proteins or microRNAs present in plasma/serum have been identified. The aim of the present work is to propose the chloride intracellular channel 1 (CLIC1) protein as a potential marker of neurodegenerative processes. CLIC1 protein accumulates in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and increases drastically when the CNS is in a chronic inflammatory state. In AD patients, both immunolocalization and mRNA quantification are able to show the behavior of CLIC1 during a persistent inflammatory state of the CNS. In particular, confocal microscopy analysis and electrophysiological measurements highlight the significant presence of transmembrane CLIC1 (tmCLIC1) in PBMCs from AD patients. Recent investigations suggest that tmCLIC1 has a very specific role. This provides an opportunity to use blood tests and conventional technologies to discriminate between healthy individuals and patients with ongoing neurodegenerative processes.
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