Tau Oligomers in Sera of Patients with Alzheimer's Disease and Aged Controls

Michala Kolarova, Urmi Sengupta, Ales Bartos, Jan Ricny, Rakez Kayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although tau protein was long regarded as an intracellular protein with several functions inside the cell, new evidence has shown tau secretion into the extracellular space. The active secretion of tau could be a physiological response of neurons to increased intracellular amounts of tau during the progression of tau pathology. We looked for potential differences in the serum levels of toxic tau oligomers in regards to cognitive impairment of subjects. We detected tau oligomers in the serum of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, but they were also present to some extent in the serum of healthy older subjects where the levels positively correlated with aging (Spearman r = 0.26, p = 0.016). On the contrary, we found lower levels of tau oligomers in the serum of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (p = 0.033) and MCI-AD (p = 0.006) patients. These results could suggest that clearance of extracellular tau proteins takes place, in part, in the periphery. In the case of MCI patients, the lower levels of tau oligomers could be the result of impaired clearance of tau protein from interstitium to blood and consequent accumulation of tau aggregates in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-478
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • oligomers
  • serum
  • tau protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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