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J Cell Physiol. 2006 Jul;208(1):39-46.

Cerebrospinal fluid tau, A beta, and phosphorylated tau protein for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurological and Behavioural Sciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.


The diagnosis of AD is still largely based on exclusion criteria of secondary causes and other forms of dementia with similar clinical pictures, than the diagnostic accuracy of AD is low. Improved methods of early diagnosis are needed, particularly because drugs treatment is more effective in the early stages of the disease. Recent research focused the attention to biochemical diagnostic markers (biomarkers) and according to the proposal of a consensus group on biomarkers, three candidate CSF markers reflecting the pathological AD processes, have recently been identified: total tau protein (t-tau), amyloid beta(1-42) protein (A beta42), and tau protein phosphorylated at AD-specific epitopes (p-tau). Several articles report reduced CSF levels of A beta42 and increased CSF levels of t-tau and p-tau in AD; the sensitivity and specificity of these data are able for discrimination of AD patients from controls. However, the specificity for other dementias is low. According to the literature analysis reported in the present review, we can conclude that the combination of the CSF markers and their ratios may significantly increase the specificity and the accuracy of AD diagnosis.

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