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This article is the author's final published version in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, Volume 16, 2023, Article number 1279999.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2024 Krishnamurthy and Pradhan.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) are debilitating neurodegenerative diseases with shared pathological features like transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) inclusions and genetic mutations. Both diseases involve synaptic dysfunction, contributing to their clinical features. Synaptic biomarkers, representing proteins associated with synaptic function or structure, offer insights into disease mechanisms, progression, and treatment responses. These biomarkers can detect disease early, track its progression, and evaluate therapeutic efficacy. ALS is characterized by elevated neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood, correlating with disease progression. TDP-43 is another key ALS biomarker, its mislocalization linked to synaptic dysfunction. In FTD, TDP-43 and tau proteins are studied as biomarkers. Synaptic biomarkers like neuronal pentraxins (NPs), including neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2), and neuronal pentraxin receptor (NPTXR), offer insights into FTD pathology and cognitive decline. Advanced technologies, like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), aid biomarker discovery and drug development. Challenges in this research include technological limitations in detection, variability across patients, and translating findings from animal models. ML/AI can accelerate discovery by analyzing complex data and predicting disease outcomes. Synaptic biomarkers offer early disease detection, personalized treatment strategies, and insights into disease mechanisms. While challenges persist, technological advancements and interdisciplinary efforts promise to revolutionize the understanding and management of ALS and FTD. This review will explore the present comprehension of synaptic biomarkers in ALS and FTD and discuss their significance and emphasize the prospects and obstacles.

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