Total tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid and diffusion-weighted MRI as an early diagnostic marker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2007;24(3):207-12. doi: 10.1159/000107082. Epub 2007 Aug 10.


Background: We have recently begun to doubt the effectiveness of periodic sharp wave complexes observed on electroencephalographs and the detection of 14-3-3 protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as diagnostic criteria for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) and the detection of total tau (t-tau) protein in CSF may be more sensitive diagnostic criteria.

Methods: Among 44 CJD patients, we selected 21 subjects that suffered from early-stage CJD, which was defined as cases in the 6 weeks following the onset of the disease. The sensitivities of DWI and electroencephalographs, as well as those of t-tau protein, 14-3-3 protein, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and S-100b protein in CSF were compared as diagnostic markers for early-stage CJD.

Results: NSE, S-100b protein, t-tau protein, and 14-3-3 protein were detected in the samples from 57.1, 4.8, 95.2, and 76.2% of the 21 early-stage CJD patients, respectively. Additionally, DWI was used to positively identify 90.5% of these cases.

Conclusion: We concluded that t-tau protein was the most sensitive of the diagnostic markers for CJD. Moreover, the data in this study showed that detection of t-tau protein combined with DWI identified 98% of the early-stage cases, and these tests should be included as diagnostic criteria for CJD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / pathology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Electroencephalography
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Growth Factors / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Prions / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Prions
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins
  • tau Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase