Plasma P-tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease: relationship to other biomarkers, differential diagnosis, neuropathology and longitudinal progression to Alzheimer’s dementia


Janelidze S, Mattsson N, Palmqvist S, Smith R, Beach TG, Serrano GE, Chai X, Proctor NK, Eichenlaub U, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Reiman EM, Stomrud E, Dage JL, Hansson O.

Plasma phosphorylated tau181 (P-tau181) might be increased in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but its usefulness for differential diagnosis and prognosis is unclear. We studied plasma P-tau181 in three cohorts, with a total of 589 individuals, including cognitively unimpaired participants and patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), AD dementia and non-AD neurodegenerative diseases. Plasma P-tau181 was increased in preclinical AD and further increased at the MCI and dementia stages. It correlated with CSF P-tau181 and predicted positive Tau positron emission tomography (PET) scans (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.87–0.91 for different brain regions). Plasma P-tau181 differentiated AD dementia from non-AD neurodegenerative diseases with an accuracy similar to that of Tau PET and CSF P-tau181 (AUC = 0.94–0.98), and detected AD neuropathology in an autopsy-confirmed cohort. High plasma P-tau181 was associated with subsequent development of AD dementia in cognitively unimpaired and MCI subjects. In conclusion, plasma P-tau181 is a noninvasive diagnostic and prognostic biomarker of AD, which may be useful in clinical practice and trials.