Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is of great cause for concern in our ageing population, which currently lacks diagnostic tools to permit accurate and timely diagnosis for affected individuals. The development of such tools could enable therapeutic interventions earlier in the disease course and thus potentially reducing the debilitating effects of AD. Glycosylation is a common, and important, post translational modification of proteins implicated in a host of disease states resulting in a complex array of glycans being incorporated into biomolecules. Recent investigations of glycan profiles, in a wide range of conditions, has been made possible due to technological advances in the field enabling accurate glycoanalyses. Amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides, tau protein, and other important proteins involved in AD pathogenesis, have altered glycosylation profiles. Crucially, these abnormalities present early in the disease state, are present in the peripheral blood, and help to distinguish AD from other dementias. This review describes the aberrant glycome in AD, focusing on proteins implicated in development and progression, and elucidates the potential of glycome aberrations as early stage biomarkers of AD.
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