CSF-tau, CSF-Abeta1-42, ApoE-genotype and clinical parameters in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: combination of CSF-tau and MMSE yields highest sensitivity and specificity

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2003 Oct;110(10):1149-60. doi: 10.1007/s00702-003-0017-7.


This study evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of tau-protein, amyloid-beta-peptide 1-42 (Abeta1-42), ApoE-genotype and the degree of cognitive decline as diagnostic markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Data was obtained from 105 AD patients and 68 controls. Median CSF-tau levels were increased (512 pg/ml vs. 145 pg/ml, p<0.001) and Abeta1-42-levels were decreased (238.5 pg/ml vs. 310 pg/ml, p<0.001) in AD patients compared to controls. A weak correlation was found between CSF-Abeta1-42 and MMSE score (r=.245). Within all subjects, a correlation of CSF-Abeta1-42 (r=-.337) and CSF-tau (r=.384) with age was found. The combination of CSF-tau levels and MMSE revealed the highest sensitivity (92%) and specificity (87%). In summary, CSF-tau was a useful biological marker to discriminate AD from normal aging, neurological and psychiatric disorders. CSF-Abeta1-42 showed no additional benefit in discriminating patients from controls but might be useful for tracking the severity of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


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