Tau phosphorylation, tangles, and neurodegeneration: the chicken or the egg?

Neuron. 2003 Oct 30;40(3):457-60. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00681-0.


Pathological aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. Although tau aggregation is associated with abnormal tau phosphorylation, the role of phosphorylation in the initiation of neurodegeneration has been unclear. Now, several animal models and data from human patients provide converging evidence that aberrant tau phosphorylation can cause a neurodegenerative phenotype similar to that seen in human neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism*
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • tau Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases