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Brain. 2008 Jul;131(Pt 7):1736-48. doi: 10.1093/brain/awn119. Epub 2008 Jun 21.

Abnormally phosphorylated tau is associated with neuronal and axonal loss in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge, UK.


The pathological correlate of clinical disability and progression in multiple sclerosis is neuronal and axonal loss; however, the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Abnormal phosphorylation of tau is a common feature of some neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. We investigated the presence of tau hyperphosphorylation and its relationship with neuronal and axonal loss in chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (CEAE) and in brain samples from patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. We report the novel finding of abnormal tau phosphorylation in CEAE. We further show that accumulation of insoluble tau is associated with both neuronal and axonal loss that correlates with progression from relapsing-remitting to chronic stages of EAE. Significantly, analysis of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis brain tissue also revealed abnormally phosphorylated tau and the formation of insoluble tau. Together, these observations provide the first evidence implicating abnormal tau in the neurodegenerative phase of tissue injury in experimental and human demyelinating disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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