Keeping tabs on tau to track neurodegenerative disorder progression

April 19, 2017

A new study reports an antibody therapy in development for the neurodegenerative disorders known as tauopathies may be eventually used as a marker to screen patients for disease progression, which could help inform much needed new therapeutic strategies for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Currently, no approved treatments exist for such diseases, where neurological damage and cognitive decline occur as toxic "clumps" of a misfolded protein called tau accumulate in the brain. One barrier to clinical trials is screening patients that have the aggregated form of the protein in their central nervous systems, and also determining if a therapy is reaching its intended target. Based on promising results in rodents, an antibody called HJ8.5 that recognizes the pathological form of tau is now under investigation. Here, Kiran Yanamandra and colleagues showed that administering HJ8.5 increased the detectable levels of tau in the serum of four human patients with tauopathies as well as in mouse models. Tau is typically found inside neurons, but researchers believe that accumulations in the spaces outside of brain cells are responsible for driving the diseases' pathologies. The scientists correlated the amount of tau in the brain with serum protein levels in mice, demonstrating that the higher levels of tau observed after treatment reflected increased serum-stability of the protein (which typically has a short half-life in the blood and is as such often undetectable). The authors say it will be important to assess plasma tau across different patient populations as anti-tau antibodies move forward into clinical trials.

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