Molecular Neurobiology

, 24:87 | Cite as

CSF total tau, Aβ42 and phosphorylated tau protein as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease

  • Kaj Blennow
  • Eugeen Vanmechelen
  • Harald Hampel


With the arrival of effective symptomatic treatments and the promise of drugs that may delay progression, we now need to identify Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at an early stage of the disease. To diagnose AD earlier and more accurately, attention has been directed toward peripheral biochemical markers. This article reviews promising potential cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for AD focussing on their role in clinical diagnosis. In particular, two biochemical markers, CSF total tau (t-tau) protein and the 42 amino acid form of β-amyloid (Aβ42), perform satisfactorily enough to achieve a role in the clinical diagnostic settings of patients with dementia together with the cumulative information from basic clinical work-up, genetic screening, and brain imaging. These CSF markers are particularly useful to discriminate early or incipient AD from age-associated memory impairment, depression, and some secondary dementias. In order to discriminate AD from other primary dementia disorders, however, more accurate and specific markers are needed. Preliminary evidence strongly suggests that quantification of tau phosphorylated at specific sites in CSF improves early detection, differential diagnosis, and tracking of disease progression in AD.

Index Entries

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) β-amyloid (Aβ) tau phosphorylated tau biochemical markers cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diagnosis 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaj Blennow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eugeen Vanmechelen
    • 3
  • Harald Hampel
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Unit of NeurochemistryUniversity of GöteborgSweden
  2. 2.The Medical Research Council (MRC)Sweden
  3. 3.InnogeneticsGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Dementia and Neuroimaging Research Section and Memory Clinic, Department of PsychiatryLudwig-Maximilian UniversityMunichGermany

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