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Exp Gerontol. 2010 Jan;45(1):30-40. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Total and phosphorylated tau protein as biological markers of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Medicine & Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Laboratory of Neuroimaging & Biomarker Research, Trinity College, University of Dublin, The Adelaide and Meath Hospital Incorporating The National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland. harald.hampel@med.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

Advances in our understanding of tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are moving this disease pathway to center stage for the development of biomarkers and disease modifying drug discovery efforts. Immunoassays were developed detecting total (t-tau) and tau phosphorylated at specific epitopes (p-tauX) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), methods to analyse tau in blood are at the experimental beginning. Clinical research consistently demonstrated CSF t- and p-tau increased in AD compared to controls. Measuring these tau species proved informative for classifying AD from relevant differential diagnoses. Tau phosphorylated at threonine 231 (p-tau231) differentiated between AD and frontotemporal dementia, tau phosphorylated at serine 181 (p-tau181) enhanced classification between AD and dementia with Lewy bodies. T- and p-tau are considered "core" AD biomarkers that have been successfully validated by controlled large-scale multi-center studies. Tau biomarkers are implemented in clinical trials to reflect biological activity, mechanisms of action of compounds, support enrichment of target populations, provide endpoints for proof-of-concept and confirmatory trials on disease modification. World-wide quality control initiatives are underway to set required methodological and protocol standards. Discussions with regulatory authorities gain momentum defining the role of tau biomarkers for trial designs and how they may be further qualified for surrogate marker status.

PMID:
19853650
PMCID:
PMC2815003
DOI:
10.1016/j.exger.2009.10.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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