Cerebrospinal fluid levels of Aβ42 and tau: potential markers of Alzheimer’s disease
CSF levels of proteins related to the lesions of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) may be informative. These include the microtubule-associated protein tau, an integral component of neurofibrillary tangles, and Aβ, a 4kDa protein that accumulates in senile plaque amyloid. Many studies have found that CSF tau is increased in AD compared to normal controls (NC). CSF tau may be increased in a minority of patients with destructive neurological disorders or several neurodegenerative conditions, making its use in differential diagnosis less clear. CSF tau consists of fragments that lack extensive phosphorylation. CSF levels of Aβ species ending at residue 40 are unchanged in AD. However species ending at residue 42 (Aβ42) are significantly decreased in AD compared to NC. Decreased Aβ42 may be found in patients with other dementias, some of whom may harbor AD pathology. Simultaneous measurement of CSF Aβ42 and tau may improve discrimination between AD and NC, and may facilitate the diagnosis of early stage AD.
KeywordsAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Amyloid Protein Precursor Vascular Dementia Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Lewy Body Dementia
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