Performance of plasma phosphorylated tau 181 and 217 in the community

Michelle M. Mielke, Jeffrey L. Dage, Ryan D. Frank, Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich, David S. Knopman, Val J. Lowe, Guojun Bu, Prashanthi Vemuri, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Clifford R. Jack, Ronald C. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasma phosphorylated tau 181 (P-tau181) and 217 (P-tau217) are indicators of both amyloid and tau pathology in clinical settings, but their performance in heterogeneous community-based populations is unclear. We examined P-tau181 and P-tau217 (n = 1,329, aged 30–98 years), in the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Continuous, unadjusted plasma P-tau181 and P-tau217 predicted abnormal amyloid positron-emission tomography (PET) (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) = 0.81–0.86) and tau PET entorhinal cortex (AUROC > 0.80), but was less predictive of a tau PET temporal region of interest (AUROC < 0.70). Multiple comorbidities were associated with higher plasma P-tau181 and P-tau217 levels; the difference between participants with and without chronic kidney disease (CKD) was similar to the difference between participants with and without elevated brain amyloid. The exclusion of participants with CKD and other comorbidities affected the establishment of a normal reference range and cutpoints. Understanding the effect of comorbidities on P-tau181 and P-tau217 levels is important for their future interpretation in the context of clinical screening, diagnosis or prognosis at the population level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1398-1405
Number of pages8
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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