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Tau plasma levels in subjective cognitive decline: Results from the DELCODE study

Muller, S., Preische, O., Gopfert, J. C., Yanez, V. A. C., Joos, T. O., Boecker, H., Duzel, E., Falkai, P., Priller, J., Buerger, K., Catak, C., Janowitz, D., Heneka, M. T., Brosseron, F., Nestor, P., Peters, O., Menne, F., Schipke, C. G., Schneider, A., Spottke, A., Fliessbach, K., Kilimann, I., Teipel, S., Wagner, M., Wiltfang, J., Jessen, F., Laske, C. (2017).

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 25;7(1):9529. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08779-0.

Previous studies have demonstrated increased tau plasma levels in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD. Much less is known whether increased tau plasma levels can already be detected in the pre-MCI stage of subjective cognitive decline (SCD). In the present study we measured tau plasma levels in 111 SCD patients and 134 age- and gender-matched cognitively healthy controls participating in the DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases) longitudinal study on cognition and dementia (DELCODE). Tau plasma levels were measured using ultra-sensitive, single-molecule array (Simoa) technology. We found no significant different tau plasma levels in SCD (3.4 pg/ml) compared with healthy controls (3.6 pg/ml) after controlling for age, gender, and education (p = 0.137). In addition, tau plasma levels did not correlate with Abeta42 (r = 0.073; p = 0.634), tau (r = -0.179; p = 0.240), and p-tau181 (r = -0.208; p = 0.171) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels in a subgroup of 45 SCD patients with available CSF. In conclusion, plasma tau is not increased in SCD patients. In addition, the lack of correlation between tau in plasma and CSF in the examined cohort suggests that tau levels are affected by different factors in both biofluids.