Automated imaging reveals where TAU protein originates in the brain in Alzheimer's disease

January 20, 2021

Researchers have developed an automated method that can track the development of harmful clumps of TAU protein related to Alzheimer's disease in the brain, according to work involving 443 individuals. The method revealed that TAU primarily emerged in an area of the brain called the rhinal cortex before spreading elsewhere, suggesting that targeting TAU here could potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The buildup of toxic amyloid-beta and TAU proteins is responsible for many of the symptoms and damage to neurons seen in Alzheimer's disease. However, current therapies have shown reduced efficacy, at least in part because the therapies were administered long after the protein had spread throughout the brain. Developing more effective interventions therefore requires a better understanding of where TAU pathology originates and how it spreads. Justin Sanchez and colleagues designed an automated anatomic sampling method that uses PET imaging to track the presence of TAU in the brain. The team applied their technique to 443 adult participants - including 55 patients with Alzheimer's - and discovered that TAU deposits first emerged in the rhinal cortex independently from amyloid-beta before spreading to the temporal neocortex. A two-year experiment with 104 subjects showed that people with the highest initial levels of TAU or amyloid beta displayed the most spread of TAU throughout the brain by the end of the study. "These findings suggest that [the rhinal cortex] is a biomarker of downstream TAU spread ... with potential utility for therapeutic trials in which reduction of TAU spread is an outcome measure," the authors conclude.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to