Cerebrospinal fluid N-224 tau helps discriminate Alzheimer’s disease from subjective cognitive decline and other dementias

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Background: Elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of total tau (T-tau) and phosphorylated tau at Thr181 (P-tau181) protein are typical of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the T-tau assay measures only the mid-region of the protein, while tau in CSF is instead composed of a series of fragments. One fragment species in particular, N-224, shows increased levels in AD compared to controls. In this multicentre study, we performed a clinical validation of the N-224 assay in cohorts including patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), AD, non-AD dementias and controls. Methods: Cohorts consisted of 30 SCD and 30 probable AD from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort (cohort 1) and 539 controls, 195 SCD, 232 MCI, 137 AD and 253 non-AD from the Swedish BioFINDER study (cohort 2). All samples had AD core biomarkers (Aβ42, T-tau, P-tau181) measurements. N-224 was measured with an in-house ultrasensitive Simoa assay. Results: N-224 levels were significantly higher in AD compared to SCD (cohort 1: p = 0.003) and in AD compared to all other diagnostic groups in cohort 2 (control, SCD, MCI and non-AD, p < 0.0001). Within the non-AD group, N-224 showed significantly lower concentrations compared to AD in Parkinson’s disease (PD, p < 0.0001), Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD, p = 0.004), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP, < 0.0001), multiple system atrophy (MSA, p = 0.002) and parkinsonisms not otherwise specified (NOS, p = 0.007). In cohort 1, higher concentrations of N-224 were associated to lower Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores (R2 = 0.318, β = 0.564, p ≤ 0.0001) and could accurately identify a pathological (< 24) MMSE score (p < 0.0001, AUC = 0.824). Conclusions: N-224 tau can distinguish AD subjects from SCD and can discriminate subgroups of non-AD dementias from AD. Therefore, N-224 may be a useful addition to the tau biomarker toolbox for the study of tau species in CSF and for better understanding disease pathogenesis.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • University College London
  • Göteborgs universitet
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • VU University Medical Center

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Neurologi


TidskriftAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2021
Peer review utfördJa