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Cellular localization of p-tau217 in brain and its association with p-tau217 plasma levels

Research group Huitinga
Publication year 2022
Published in Acta neuropathologica communications
Authors Malin Wennström, Shorena Janelidze, K Peter R Nilsson, I. Huitinga, Geidy E Serrano, Thomas G Beach, Jeffrey L Dage, Oskar Hansson

Recent studies highlight phosphorylated tau (p-tau) at threonine tau 217 (p-tau217) as a new promising plasma biomarker for pathological changes implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but the specific brain pathological events related to the alteration in p-tau217 plasma levels are still largely unknown. Using immunostaining techniques of postmortem AD brain tissue, we show that p-tau217 is found in neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads that are also positive for p-tau181, 202, 202/205, 231, and 369/404. The p-tau217, but not the other five p-tau variants, was also prominently seen in vesicles structure positive for markers of granulovacuolar degeneration bodies and multi-vesicular bodies. Further, individuals with a high likelihood of AD showed significantly higher p-tau217 area fraction in 4 different brain areas (entorhinal cortex, inferior temporal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus) compared to those with Primary age related tauopathy or other non-AD tauopathies. The p-tau217 area fraction correlated strongly with total amyloid-beta (Aβ) and NFT brain load when the whole group was analyzed. Finally, the mean p-tau217 area fraction correlated significantly with p-tau217 concentrations in antemortem collected plasma specifically in individuals with amyloid plaques and not in those without amyloid plaques. These studies highlight differences in cellular localization of different p-tau variants and suggest that plasma levels of p-tau217 reflect an accumulation of p-tau217 in presence of Aβ plaque load.

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