19 September 2023

Levels of plasma brain-derived tau and p-tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease and rapidly progressive dementias


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.