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Transl Neurosci. 2012 Sep;3(3):223-233.

Soluble forms of tau are toxic in Alzheimer's disease.

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MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown Massachusetts 02129 ; Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Massachusetts 02118.


Accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), intracellular inclusions of fibrillar forms of tau, is a hallmark of Alzheimer Disease. NFT have been considered causative of neuronal death, however, recent evidence challenges this idea. Other species of tau, such as soluble misfolded, hyperphosphorylated, and mislocalized forms, are now being implicated as toxic. Here we review the data supporting soluble tau as toxic to neurons and synapses in the brain and the implications of these data for development of therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies.

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