Cerebrospinal fluid phospho-tau, total tau and beta-amyloid(1-42) in the differentiation between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2002;14(4):183-90. doi: 10.1159/000066023.


The two most frequently examined biomarkers in the diagnosis of dementia are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau and beta-amyloid(1-42) (Abeta(1-42)). An assay for tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (phospho-tau) has recently been developed. We studied these three markers in patients with possible Alzheimer's disease (AD; n = 23), probable AD (n = 50), AD with relevant cerebrovascular disease (AD with CVD; n = 14), possible vascular dementia (VaD; n = 39), probable VaD (n = 36), cognitively impaired (n = 13) and 27 neurologically healthy controls. Compared with the controls, tau levels were significantly increased in possible AD, probable AD, AD with CVD and probable VaD. Abeta(1-42) was decreased in all dementia groups compared with the controls. In contrast, phospho-tau levels were increased only in probable AD compared with the controls. From the results of the present study, it is concluded that neither measurement of phospho-tau, tau nor Abeta(1-42) in CSF can discriminate entirely between dementia and cognitively non-disturbed controls or between dementia of different aetiologies in the clinical diagnostic procedure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Dementia, Vascular / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Dementia, Vascular / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Phosphorylation
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • tau Proteins