A quantitative analysis of brain soluble tau and the tau secretion factor

Pengcheng Han, Geidy Serrano, Thomas G. Beach, Richard J. Caselli, Junxiang Yin, Ningning Zhuang, Jiong Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) represent products of insoluble tau protein in the brains of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau level is a biomarker in AD diagnosis. The soluble portion of tau protein in brain parenchyma is presumably the source for CSF tau but this has not previously been quantified. We measured CSF tau and soluble brain tau at autopsy in temporal and frontal brain tissue samples from 7 cognitive normal, 12 mild cognitively impaired, and 19 AD subjects. Based on the measured brain soluble tau, we calculated the whole brain tau load and estimated tau secretion factor. Our results suggest that the increase in NFT in AD is likely attributable to post-translational processes; the increase in CSF tau in AD patients is due to an accelerated carrier-based secretion. Moreover, cognitive dysfunction assessed by final Mini-Mental State Examination scores correlated with the secretion factor but not with the soluble tau.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Soluble tau
  • Tau protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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