Diagnostic significance of tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with corticobasal degeneration or progressive supranuclear palsy

J Neurol Sci. 2001 Jan 15;183(1):95-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(00)00480-9.


Distinguishing corticobasal degeneration (CBD) from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is clinically and pathologically difficult, and a useful biological marker to discriminative these two diseases has been a subject of clinical interest. In the present study, we assessed tau protein levels in cerebrospinal fluids by sandwich ELISA to distinguish CBD from PSP. The subjects consisted of 27 cases of CBD, 30 cases of PSP, and 36 healthy controls (CTL). The tau values in CBD were significantly higher than those in PSP (P<0.001) and those in CTL (P<0.001). The assay of CSF tau provided diagnostic sensitivity of 81.5% and specificity of 80.0% between CBD and PSP according to receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. When values were compared separately with respect to stage of the disease, differences in the values for moderate CBD vs. moderate PSP had the greatest significance (P<0.001 sensitivity 92.3%, specificity 100.0%), followed by cases of mild CBD and PSP (P<0.005, sensitivity 100.0%, specificity 87.5%). The values in severe CBD and PSP were not significantly different (P=0.07, sensitivity 100%, specificity 75.0%). Using data obtained from a larger number of disease cases, we confirmed our previous findings that tau protein levels in cerebrospinal fluids in patients with CBD are significantly higher than those in patients with PSP. Because tau protein levels in cerebrospinal fluids are significantly higher in early CBD cases than in early PSP cases, measurement of tau protein levels in cerberospinal fluids may be useful for the differential diagnosis of early CBD from early PSP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • tau Proteins