The τ Protein in Human Cerebrospinal Fluid in Alzheimer's Disease Consists of Proteolytically Derived Fragments


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. D. Galasko at Neurology V127, VAMC, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161, U.S.A.


Abstract: Previous studies have shown that the levels of the microtubule-associated protein τ in the CSF of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are elevated compared with age-matched controls. In spite of these findings, the nature of τ in CSF has not been well documented. In the present study, τ was immunoprecipitated from CSF of patients with AD or acute stroke, as well as normal elderly controls, followed by immunoblot analysis. In all cases, CSF τ consisted primarily of a band migrating at 26–28 kDa. In AD and stroke patients, several smaller τ fragments were also detected. No intact τ was detected in any of the CSF samples examined. Further immunoprecipitation studies showed that the majority of the τ fragments contained the amino terminus of the molecule. Treatment of CSF τ with alkaline phosphatase did not alter the electrophoretic properties of the fragments. These studies clearly demonstrate that CSF τ is truncated rather than intact.