23 March 2024

Plasma p-tau212 antemortem diagnostic performance and prediction of autopsy verification of Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology


Blood phosphorylated tau (p-tau) biomarkers, including p-tau217, show high associations with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) neuropathologic change and clinical stage. Certain plasma p-tau217 assays recognize tau forms phosphorylated additionally at threonine-212, but the contribution of p-tau212 alone to AD is unknown. We developed a blood-based immunoassay that is specific to p-tau212 without cross-reactivity to p-tau217. Here, we examined the diagnostic utility of plasma p-tau212. In five cohorts (n = 388 participants), plasma p-tau212 showed high performances for AD diagnosis and for the detection of both amyloid and tau pathology, including at autopsy as well as in memory clinic populations. The diagnostic accuracy and fold changes of plasma p-tau212 were similar to those for p-tau217 but higher than p-tau181 and p-tau231. Immunofluorescent staining of brain tissue slices showed prominent p-tau212 reactivity in neurofibrillary tangles that co-localized with p-tau217 and p-tau202/205. These findings support plasma p-tau212 as a peripherally accessible biomarker of AD pathophysiology.