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The level of cerebrospinal fluid tau correlates with neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease

Tapiola, Tero1; Overmyer, Margit1; Lehtovirta, Maarit1; Helisalmi, Seppo1,3; Ramberg, Jarmo4; Alafuzoff, Irina1; Riekkinen, Paavo Sr1,2; Soininen, Hilkka1,5

Clinical Neuroscience and Neuropathology

WE measured tau concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples taken during the lifetime of 43 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and correlated these values with neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) scores as well as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression as a marker of astrocytosis in the brain post-mortem. The CSF tau values showed a positive correlation with neocortical NFT scores (r = 0.44, p < 0.005), while GFAP immmunoreactivity did not correlate with CSF tau. This study reveals a high variation in CSF tau values in patients with neuropathologically confirmed AD (range 194–1539 pg/ml) and indicates that high CSF tau values in the late phase of Alzheimer's disease predict severe neurodegeneration as evidenced by increased NFT scores.

1Department of Neuroscience and Neurology, University Hospital and University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio

2A.I. Virtanen Institute, University Hospital and University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio

3Unit of Clinical Genetics of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital and University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio

4Orion Diagnostica, Oulunsalo, Finland

5Corresponding Author: Hilkka Soininen

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The study was supported by the Medical Research Council of the Academy of Finland.

Received 23 September 1997; accepted 15 October 1997

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.