No added diagnostic value of nonphosphorylated tau fraction (p-taurel) in CSF as a biomarker for differential dementia diagnosis

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Joery Goossens et al.

Goossens, J. et al. (2017) No added diagnostic value of nonphosphorylated tau fraction (p-taurel) in CSF as a biomarker for differential dementia diagnosis. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy 9:49


Background: The Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers Aβ1–42, t-tau, and p-tau181 overlap with other diseases. New tau modifications or epitopes, such as the non-phosphorylated tau fraction (p-taurel), may improve differential dementia diagnosis. The goal of this study is to investigate if p-taurel can improve the diagnostic performance of the AD CSF biomarker panel for differential dementia diagnosis. 

Methods: The study population consisted of 45 AD, 45 frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), 45 dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and 21 Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) patients, and 20 cognitively healthy controls. A substantial subset of the patients was pathology-confirmed. CSF levels of Aβ1–42, t-tau, p-tau181, and p-taurel were determined with commercially available single-analyte enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Diagnostic performance was evaluated by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses, and area under the curve (AUC) values were compared using DeLong tests. 

Results: The diagnostic performance of single markers as well as biomarker ratios was determined for each pairwise comparison of different dementia groups and controls. The addition of p-taurel to the AD biomarker panel decreased its diagnostic performance when discriminating non-AD, FTLD, and DLB from AD. As a single marker, p-taurel increased the diagnostic performance for CJD. No significant difference was found in AUC values with the addition of p-taurel when differentiating between AD or non-AD dementias and controls.

Conclusions: The addition of p-taurel to the AD CSF biomarker panel failed to improve differentiation between AD and non-AD dementias.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, Differential diagnosis, Cerebrospinal fluid, Biomarkers, Tau, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Alzheimer's Research & Therapy