DOI: 10.1002/alz.072771 ISSN: 1552-5260

Alzheimer’s Disease‐impacted Expression of tRNA‐derived Fragments in Body Fluid: Implication for New Disease Biomarkers

Wenzhe Wu, Audrey Shen, Inhan Lee, Miguel A Pappolla, Xiang Fang, Xiaoyong Bao
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common type of dementia, affects over six million Americans aged 65 years and older. Although numerous research efforts were made on AD, the knowledge of the mechanisms and therapeutic strategies is still very limited. At present, identifying the prodromal stages of AD remains a significant challenge. tRNA‐derived RNA fragments (tRFs), a family of recently discovered small non‐coding RNAs (sncRNAs), express high in both human and primate hippocampus. Our recent discovery also revealed that some hippocampus tRF expression is much higher in AD patients compared with age‐matched health individuals.


Herein, we further characterized the expression of tRFs in CSF and serum from healthy, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and AD patients, using a combination of T4 polynucleotide kinase (T4 PNK)‐RNA‐seq and qRT‐PCR specific to tRF validation.


Our results indicated tRF5‐ProAGG altered by AD in both CSF and serum samples, and serum AD‐impacted tRF5‐ProAGG showed a correlation to the disease severity. Notably, serum tRF5‐ProAGG showed a change tendency when MCI progresses to AD, suggesting that it is a promising biomarker for AD. We also predicted putative targets of tRF5‐ProAGG using our in‐house computational program and confirmed that some targets, such as SV2B, CDH8, and NEFL, were decreased in AD’s hippocampus. Interestingly, SV2B and tRF5‐ProAGG showed a negative correlation.


tRF5‐ProAGG shows the potential as an AD biomarker and plays a vital role in disease progression.

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