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Acta Neuropathol. 2005 Sep;110(3):261-8. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Individual and regional variations of phospho-tau species in progressive supranuclear palsy.

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Institut de Neuropatologia, Servei Anatomia Patològica, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, carrer Feixa Llarga sn, 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.


The purpose of this study was to learn about possible variations in phospho-tau profiles in terms of case-to-case differences, regional modifications and diversification of tau phosphorylation sites in five PSP cases with moderate to severe frontosubcortical dysfunction. Gel electrophoresis of sarkosyl-insoluble fractions and Western blotting with five anti-tau phospho-specific antibodies directed to phosphorylation sites Thr181, Ser202, Ser214, Ser396 and Ser422 were used to study four brain regions including frontal cortex, area 8, subcortical white matter of the frontal lobe, caudate/putamen: striatum, and basis pontis: pons. Although two bands of 66 and 62 kDa were observed in almost every region in each case, the intensity of the bands depends on the anti-tau phospho-specific antibody. More importantly, bands of 72, 50/55 and 37 kDa were commonly found in PSP brains, whereas other bands of about 60, 42, 33 and 29 kDa were irregularly observed. The pattern of bands differed slightly from one case to another and from one region to another. Moreover, the phospho-tau profile differed depending on the anti-tau phospho-specific antibody used. These data suggest that several species of tau are variably phosphorylated at a given time in a given region (and probably in a given cell), and that tau aggregates are composed of several phosphorylated truncated or cleaved tau molecules, in addition to phosphorylated complete tau isoforms.

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