Research

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology among indi- viduals with mild cognitive changes and those experiencing subjective cognitive decline (SCD) remains challenging. Plasma phosphorylated tau 217 (p-tau217) is one of the most promising of the emerging biomarkers for AD. However, accessible methods are limited.

METHODS: We employed a novel p-tau217 immunoassay (University of Gothenburg [UGOT] p-tau217) in four independent cohorts (n = 308) including a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker-classified cohort (Discovery), two cohorts consisting mostly of cognitively unimpaired (CU) and mild cognitively impaired (MCI) participants (MYHAT and Pittsburgh), and a population-based cohort of individuals with SCD (Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center’s Alzheimer’s At-Risk Cohort [β-AARC]).

RESULTS: UGOT p-tau217 showed high accuracy (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.80– 0.91) identifying amyloid beta (Aβ) pathology, determined either by Aβ positron emission tomography or CSF Aβ42/40 ratio. In individuals experiencing SCD, UGOT p-tau217 showed high accuracy identifying those with a positive CSF Aβ42/40 ratio (AUC = 0.91).

DISCUSSION: UGOT p-tau217 can be an easily accessible and efficient way to screen and monitor patients with suspected AD pathophysiology, even in the early stages of the continuum.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Rapidly progressive dementias (RPDs) are a group of neurolog- ical disorders characterized by a rapid cognitive decline. The diagnostic value of blood-based biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in RPD has not been fully explored.

METHODS: We measured plasma brain-derived tau (BD-tau) and p-tau181 in 11 con- trols, 15 AD patients, and 33 with RPD, of which 19 were Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

RESULTS: Plasma BD-tau differentiated AD from RPD and controls (p = 0.002 and p = 0.03, respectively), while plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) p-tau181 distin- guished AD from RPD (p < 0.001) but not controls from RPD (p > 0.05). The correlation of CSF t-tau with plasma BD-tau was stronger (r = 0.78, p < 0.001) than the correlation of CSF and plasma p-tau181 (r = 0.26, p = 0.04). The ratio BD-tau/p-tau181 performed equivalently to the CSF t-tau/p-tau181 ratio, differentiating AD from CJD (p < 0.0001).

DISCUSSION: Plasma BD-tau and p-tau181 mimic their corresponding cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers. P-tau significantly increased in AD but not in RPD. Plasma BD-tau, like CSF t-tau, increases according to neurodegeneration intensity.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE Blood-based measurements of total tau (T-tau) are commonly used to examine neuronal injury in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but current assays do not differentiate between brain-derived tau (BD-tau) and tau produced in peripheral tissues. A novel assay for BD-tau has recently been reported that selectively quantifies nonphosphorylated tau of central nervous system origin in blood samples.

OBJECTIVES To examine the association of serum BD-tau with clinical outcomes in patients with severe TBI (sTBI) and its longitudinal changes over 1 year.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This prospective cohort study was conducted at the neurointensive unit at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, between September 1, 2006, and July 1, 2015. The study included 39 patients with sTBI followed up for up to 1 year. Statistical analysis was performed between October and November 2021.

EXPOSURES Serum BD-tau, T-tau, phosphorylated tau231 (p-tau231), and neurofilament light chain (NfL) measured on days 0, 7, and 365 after injury.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Associations of serum biomarkers with clinical outcome and longitudinal change in sTBI. Severity of sTBI was evaluated using the Glasgow Coma Scale at hospital admission, while clinical outcome was assessed with the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) at 1-year follow-up. Participants were classified as having a favorable outcome (GOS score, 4-5) or unfavorable outcome (GOS score, 1-3).

RESULTS Among the 39 patients (median age at admission, 36 years [IQR, 22-54 years]; 26 men [66.7%]) in the study on day 0, the mean (SD) serum BD-tau level was higher among patients with unfavorable outcomes vs those with favorable outcomes (191.4 [190.8] pg/mL vs 75.6 [60.3] pg/mL; mean difference, 115.9 pg/mL [95% CI, 25.7-206.1 pg/mL]), while the other markers had smaller between-group mean differences (serum T-tau, 60.3 pg/mL [95% CI, −22.0 to 142.7 pg/mL]; serum p-tau231, 8.3 pg/mL [95% CI, −6.4 to 23.0 pg/mL]; serum NfL, −5.4 pg/mL [95% CI, −99.0 to 88.3 pg/mL]). Similar results were recorded on day 7. Longitudinally, baseline serum BD-tau concentrations showed slower decreases in the whole cohort (42.2% on day 7 [from 138.6 to 80.1 pg/mL] and 93.0% on day 365 [from 138.6 to 9.7 pg/mL]) compared with serum T-tau (81.5% on day 7 [from 57.3 to 10.6 pg/mL] and 99.0% on day 365 [from 57.3 to 0.6 pg/mL]) and p-tau231 (92.5% on day 7 [from 20.1 to 1.5 pg/mL] and 95.0% on day 365 [from 20.1 to 1.0 pg/mL]). These results did not change when considering clinical outcome, where T-tau decreased twice as fast as BD-tau in both groups. Similar results were obtained for p-tau231. Furthermore, the biomarker levels on day 365 were lower, compared with day 7, for BD-tau but not T-tau or p-tau231. Serum NfL had a different trajectory to the tau biomarkers, with levels increasing by 255.9% on day 7 compared with day 0 (from 86.8 to 308.9 pg/mL) but decreasing by 97.0% by day 365 vs day 7 (from 308.9 to 9.2 pg/mL).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE This study suggests that serum BD-tau, T-tau, and p-tau231 have differential associations with clinical outcome and 1-year longitudinal change in patients with sTBI. Serum BD-tau demonstrated utility as a biomarker to monitor outcomes in sTBI and can provide valuable information regarding acute neuronal damage.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: We investigated the effects of matrix type and reagent batch changes on diagnostic performances and longitudinal trajectories of brain-derived tau (BD-tau).

METHODS: We evaluated (i) Cohort 1: paired EDTA plasma and serum from Alzheimer biomarker-positive older adults versus controls (n = 26); and (ii) Cohort 2: n = 79 acute ischemic stroke patients with 265 longitudinal samples across four time points. RESULTS: In Cohort 1, plasma and serum BD-tau were strongly correlated (rho = 0.96, p < 0.0001) with similar diagnostic performances (AUCs >99%) and correlations with CSF total-tau (rho = 0.93–0.94, p < 0.0001). However, absolute concentrations were ∼40% higher in plasma versus serum. In Cohort 2, first and repeated BD-tau measurements showed a near-perfect correlation (rho = 0.96, p < 0.0001), with no significant between-batch concentration differences. In longitudinal analyses, sub- stituting ∼10% of the first-run concentrations for the remeasured values showed overlapping estimated trajectories without significant differences at any time point.

RESULTS: In Cohort 1, plasma and serum BD-tau were strongly correlated (rho = 0.96, p < 0.0001) with similar diagnostic performances (AUCs >99%) and correlations with CSF total-tau (rho = 0.93–0.94, p < 0.0001). However, absolute concentrations were ∼40% higher in plasma versus serum. In Cohort 2, first and repeated BD-tau measurements showed a near-perfect correlation (rho = 0.96, p < 0.0001), with no significant between-batch concentration differences. In longitudinal analyses, substituting ∼10% of the first-run concentrations for the remeasured values showed overlapping estimated trajectories without significant differences at any time point.

DISCUSSION: BD-tau has equivalent diagnostic accuracies, but non-interchangeable absolute concentrations, in plasma versus serum. Furthermore, the analytical robustness is unaffected by batch-to-batch reagent variations.

Abstract

Blood-based biomarkers for amyloid beta and phosphorylated tau show good diagnostic accuracies and agreements with their corresponding CSF and neuroimaging biomarkers in the amyloid/tau/neurodegeneration [A/T/ (N)] framework for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the blood-based neurodegeneration marker neurofilament light is not specific to Alzheimer’s disease while total-tau shows lack of correlation with CSF total-tau. Recent studies suggest that blood total-tau originates principally from peripheral, non-brain sources.

We sought to address this challenge by generating an anti-tau antibody that selectively binds brain-derived tau and avoids the peripherally expressed ‘big tau’ isoform. We applied this antibody to develop an ultrasensitive blood-based assay for brain-derived tau, and validated it in five independent cohorts (n = 609) including a blood-to-autopsy cohort, CSF biomarker-classified cohorts and memory clinic cohorts.

In paired samples, serum and CSF brain-derived tau were significantly correlated (rho = 0.85, P < 0.0001), while serum and CSF total-tau were not (rho = 0.23, P = 0.3364). Blood-based brain-derived tau showed equivalent diagnostic performance as CSF total-tau and CSF brain-derived tau to separate biomarker-positive Alzheimer’s disease participants from biomarker-negative controls. Furthermore, plasma brain-derived tau accurately distinguished autopsy-con- firmed Alzheimer’s disease from other neurodegenerative diseases (area under the curve = 86.4%) while neurofilament light did not (area under the curve=54.3%). These performances were independent of the presence of concomitant pathologies. Plasma brain-derived tau (rho=0.52–0.67, P=0.003), but not neurofilament light (rho= −0.14–0.17, P=0.501), was associated with global and regional amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangle counts. These results were further verified in two memory clinic cohorts where serum brain-derived tau differentiated Alzheimer’s disease from a range of other neurodegenerative disorders, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration and atypical parkinsonian disorders (area under the curve up to 99.6%). Notably, plasma/serum brain-derived tau correlated with neurofilament light only in Alzheimer’s disease but not in the other neurodegenerative diseases. Across cohorts, plasma/serum brain-derived tau was associated with CSF and plasma AT(N) biomarkers and cognitive function.

Brain-derived tau is a new blood-based biomarker that outperforms plasma total-tau and, unlike neurofilament light, shows specificity to Alzheimer’s disease-type neurodegeneration. Thus, brain-derived tau demonstrates potential to complete the AT(N) scheme in blood, and will be useful to evaluate Alzheimer’s disease-dependent neurodegenerative processes for clinical and research purposes.

Abstract

Background: Circulating secretoneurin (SN) concentrations, as measured by established radioimmunoassay (RIA), risk stratify patients with cardiovascular disease. We now report data for a recently developed research-use-only SN enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in patients with sus- pected acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Methods: SN ELISA was developed according to industry standards and tested in 401 unselected chest pain patients. Blood samples were drawn <24 h from admission, and we adjudicated all hospi- talizations as ACS or non-ACS. The mean follow-up was 6.2 years.

Results: SN ELISA with 2 monoclonal sheep anti-SN antibodies has a measuring range of 10–250 pmol/L and demonstrates excellent analytical precision and accuracy across the range of SN concentrations. SN measured by ELI- SA and RIA correlated in the chest pain patients: rho = 0.39, p < 0.001. SN concentrations were higher in ACS patients (n = 161 [40%]) than in non-ACS patients (n = 240) for both assays, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.66 (95% CI: 0.61–0.71) for ELISA and 0.59 (0.54–0.65) for RIA. SN concen- trations were also higher in nonsurvivors (n = 65 [16%]) than survivors, with an AUC of 0.72 (0.65–0.79) for ELISA versus 0.64 (0.56–0.72) for RIA, p = 0.007, for difference between as- says. Adjusting for age, sex, blood pressure, previous myo- cardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure in mul- tivariable analysis, SN concentrations as measured by ELISA, but not RIA, remained associated with mortality, with a haz- ard ratio of 1.71 (1.03–2.84), p = 0.038.

Conclusions: The nov- el SN ELISA has excellent performance, higher AUC for diag- nosis, and superior prognostic accuracy compared to the es- tablished RIA in chest pain patients.