34 Scopus citations


Aggregated insoluble tau is one of two defining features of Alzheimer’s disease. Because clinical symptoms are strongly correlated with tau aggregates, drug development and clinical diagnosis need cost-effective and accessible specific fluid biomarkers of tau aggregates; however, recent studies suggest that the fluid biomarkers currently available cannot specifically track tau aggregates. We show that the microtubule-binding region (MTBR) of tau containing the residue 243 (MTBR-tau243) is a new cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker specific for insoluble tau aggregates and compared it to multiple other phosphorylated tau measures (p-tau181, p-tau205, p-tau217 and p-tau231) in two independent cohorts (BioFINDER-2, n = 448; and Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, n = 219). MTBR-tau243 was most strongly associated with tau-positron emission tomography (PET) and cognition, whereas showing the lowest association with amyloid-PET. In combination with p-tau205, MTBR-tau243 explained most of the total variance in tau-PET burden (0.58 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.75) and the performance in predicting cognitive measures (0.34 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.48) approached that of tau-PET (0.44 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.52). MTBR-tau243 levels longitudinally increased with insoluble tau aggregates, unlike CSF p-tau species. CSF MTBR-tau243 is a specific biomarker of tau aggregate pathology, which may be utilized in interventional trials and in the diagnosis of patients. Based on these findings, we propose to revise the A/T/(N) criteria to include MTBR-tau243 as representing insoluble tau aggregates (‘T’).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1954-1963
Number of pages10
JournalNature medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


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