Desikan RS, McEvoy LK, Thompson WK, Holland D, Roddey JC, Blennow K, Aisen PS, Brewer JB, Hyman BT, Dale AM, .
Amyloid-β associated volume loss occurs only in the presence of phospho-tau.
Ann Neurol. 2011 Oct;70(4):657-61.
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A very informative study. One question is, Does the phosphorylation status of CSF tau reflect that of intraneuronal tau?
This paper is a good example of the field taking the biomarker issue to the next level—beyond the simple uni-modal and uni-analyte investigations that have been the initial approaches. This research is important not only for identifying biomarkers that have the most clinical potential, but also for better elucidating the pathological processes that are taking place during the natural course of the disease. Now that multi-modal assessments are being implemented in longitudinal studies, I expect we'll see a lot of similar types of analyses. I'm not sure what to make of the positive findings for phosphorylated tau, but not total tau, since these two markers are very highly correlated in AD, but they may suggest some interesting things specifically related to tau hyperphosphorylation. The overall findings of Desikan et al. clearly deserve attention using a different independent cohort.