Formation Site of Tau Protein Tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease Revealed

by Karishma Abhishek on Jan 23 2021 9:00 PM

Formation Site of Tau Protein Tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease Revealed
Automated imaging method can track the formation of pathological Tau protein clumps seen in the brain of Alzheimer's disease, as per a study published in the journal American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to gradual memory loss and behavioral changes. It is characterized by the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and the tau proteins in the brain tissues, long before the actual symptoms occur.

Present therapies against Alzheimer’s disease have witnessed reduced efficacy as the therapies are administered long after the protein tangles have been infested throughout the brain.

Tau Changes In Alzheimer’s Disease

The study involved 443 individuals including 55 patients with Alzheimer's disease who underwent an automated anatomic sampling method that uses PET imaging to track the presence of Tau in the brain.

It was discovered that Tau deposits first emerged in a specific brain area – the rhinal cortex followed by catastrophic spread to other regions.

Another PET imaging study of 2-year follow-up that involved 104 individuals showed Aβ-associated spread of Tau first from the rhinal cortex site. The spread follows other regions of the brain like the neocortex of the temporal lobe and then to extratemporal regions.

These findings shed light on the idea that the rhinal cortex is a biomarker of downstream Tau spread. Thus targeting Tau at this first emerging site could potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and help design better treatments.

Facts on Alzheimer's disease:

  • More than 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's.
  • An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2020.
  • Eighty percent are age 75 or older.
  • One in 10 people age 65 and older (10%) has Alzheimer's dementia.