Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 105
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825356

Phosphorylated tau protein as a core biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease

H Hampel 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

Biomarkers of Alzheimer’ disease (AD) could be established by analysis of neurofibrillary tangle related pathology. Microtubule associated tau is abnormally phosphorylated (p-tau) in AD and aggregates in neurofibrillary tangles. Immunoassays have been developed detecting tau at specific phosphorylated epitopes in CSF. P-tau was highly increased in AD compared to healthy subjects and differentiated AD from its most relevant differential diagnoses. Specificity and sensitivity levels range over 80%. P-tau levels declined with disease progression, correlating with cognitive performance at baseline. Mild cognitively impaired patients showed elevated p-tau baseline levels, correlating with rate of cognitive decline. Cumulative data indicates that CSF p-tau improves early detection, differential diagnosis and tracking of disease progression in AD.

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Hampel, H. et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry (2003) in press