No association of salivary total tau concentration with Alzheimer's disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is a need for an accessible biomarker that can complement current cerebrospinal fluid and imaging biomarkers in an accurate and early diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Saliva is a rich source of potential biomarkers and proteins related to neurodegenerative disorders have been shown to be present in this matrix, including tau. In this study, we quantified salivary total tau (t-tau) concentration in 160 healthy elderly control, 68 mild cognitive impairment, and 53 AD participants using ultrasensitive Single molecule array (Simoa) technology. No median difference in salivary t-tau concentration was found between AD and mild cognitive impairment or healthy elderly control (12.3 ng/L, 9.8 ng/L and 9.6 ng/L, respectively, p = 0.219). In addition, there was no association of salivary t-tau concentration with neurophysiological assessment or structural magnetic resonance imaging. Despite a nominal increase in AD, due to the large overlaps in concentrations between clinical groups, we conclude that salivary t-tau is a suitable biomarker neither for AD nor for cognitive impairment.


  • Nicholas J. Ashton
  • Mark Ide
  • Michael Schöll
  • Kaj Blennow
  • Simon Lovestone
  • Abdul Hye
  • Henrik Zetterberg
External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska Academy
  • King's College London
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • University of Oxford
  • University College London
  • University of Gothenburg
  • NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology


  • Alzheimer's disease, Biomarkers, Diagnosis, Fluid-biomarkers, Immunoassays, Saliva, Tau
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-127
Number of pages3
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch