Value of CSF beta-amyloid1-42 and tau as predictors of Alzheimer's disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Mol Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;9(7):705-10. doi: 10.1038/


Subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at a high risk of developing clinical Alzheimer's disease (AD). We asked to what extent the core biomarker candidates cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) beta-amyloid(1-42) (Abeta(1-42)) and CSF tau protein concentrations predict conversion from MCI to AD. We studied 52 patients with MCI, 93 AD patients, and 10 healthy controls (HC). The MCI group was composed of 29 patients who had converted to AD during follow-up, and of 23 patients who showed no cognitive decline. CSF Abeta(1-42) and tau protein levels were assessed at baseline in all subjects, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. For assessment of sensitivity and specificity, we used independently established reference values for CSF Abeta(1-42) and CSF tau. The levels of CSF tau were increased, whereas levels of Abeta(1-42) were decreased in MCI subjects. Abeta(1-42) predicted AD in converted MCI with a sensitivity of 59% and a specificity of 100% compared to HC. Tau yielded a greater sensitivity of 83% and a specificity of 90%. In a multiple Cox regression analysis within the MCI group, low baseline levels of Abeta(1-42), but not other predictor variables (tau protein, gender, age, apolipoprotein E epsilon4 carrier status, Mini Mental Status Examination score, observation time, antidementia therapy), correlated with conversion status (P<0.05). Our findings support the notion that CSF tau and Abeta(1-42) may be useful biomarkers in the early identification of AD in MCI subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Cognition Disorders / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Biomarkers
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • tau Proteins