Specific Tau Protein Shows Potential as Blood Biomarker in Early Studies

Specific Tau Protein Shows Potential as Blood Biomarker in Early Studies
A specific form of the tau protein, called phosphorylated-tau-217 or p-tau217, may function as a blood biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease, allow the development of blood tests to accurately diagnose the disease at earlier stages.

These are the findings of three studies presented during the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2020.

The brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease show accumulation of tau protein aggregates, which are thought to precede the loss of nerve cells, shrinkage of the brain, and cognitive impairment. P-tau217, a modified form of tau which is phosphorylated at residue 217, seems to be the most specific to Alzheimer’s and the earliest to show measurable changes.

Researchers with the University of Lund, in Sweden, found evidence that blood levels of p-tau217 might serve as an early diagnostic biomarker for Alzheimer’s.

Their study, "Phospho-tau217 and phospho-tau181 in plasma and CSF as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease," examined over 1,400 cases and blood p-tau217 distinguished Alzheimer’s from other neurodegenerative disorders with a diagnostic accuracy between 89 and 98 percent.

According to the team, “the diagnostic precision of blood p-tau217 was as high as established diagnostic methods, including
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