Brain metabolic correlates of CSF Tau protein in a large cohort of Alzheimer's disease patients: A CSF and FDG PET study

Agostino Chiaravalloti, Gaetano Barbagallo, Maria Ricci, Alessandro Martorana, Francesco Ursini, Pasqualina Sannino, Georgios Karalis, Orazio Schillaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims Physiopathological mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are still matter of debate. Especially the role of amyloid β and tau pathology in the development of the disease are still matter of debate. Changes in tau and amyloid β peptide concentration in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and hypometabolic patterns at fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET scanning are considered as biomarkers of AD. The present study was aimed to evaluate the relationships between the concentrations of CSF total Tau (t-Tau), phosphorilated Tau (p-Tau) and Aβ1–42 amyloid peptide with 18F-FDG brain distribution in a group of patients with AD. Materials and methods We examined 131 newly diagnosed AD patients according to the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria and 20 healthy controls. The mean (±SD) age of the patients was 70 (±7) years; 57 were male and 74 were female. All patients and controls underwent a complete clinical investigation, including medical history, neurological examination, mini-mental state examination (MMSE), a complete blood screening (including routine exams, thyroid hormones and a complete neuropsychological evaluation). Structural MRI was performed not earlier than 1 month before the 18F-FDG PET/CT. The following patients were excluded: those with isolated deficits and/or unmodified MMSE (=25/30) on revisit (period of follow-up: 6, 12 and 18 months); patients who had had a clinically manifest acute stroke in the last 6 months with a Hachinsky score greater than 4; and patients with radiological evidence of subcortical lesions. All AD patients were taken off cholinesterase inhibitor treatment throughout the study. We performed lumbar puncture and CSF sampling for diagnostic purposes 2 weeks (±2 days) before the PET/CT scan. The relationship between brain F-FDG uptake and CSF biomarkers was analysed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM8; Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, London, UK) implemented in Matlab R2012b using the MMSE score, sex and age, and other CSF biomarkers as covariates. Results t-Tau, p-Tau and Aβ(1–42) in CSF resulted 774 ± 345 pg/ml, 98 ± 64 pg/ml and 348.8 ± 111 pg/ml respectively. SPM analysis showed a significant negative correlation between CSF t-Tau and 18F FDG uptake in right temporal, parietal and frontal lobe (Brodmann areas, BA, 20, 40 and 8; P fdr and few corr < 0.001, ke 19534). We did not find any significant relationships with other CSF biomarkers. Conclusions t-Tau deposition in brain is related to temporal, parietal and frontal hypometabolism in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 21 2017


  • Alzheimer
  • Brain imaging
  • CSF
  • PET
  • Tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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