Serum cleaved tau does not predict postconcussion syndrome after mild traumatic brain injury

Am J Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;26(7):763-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2007.10.029.


Objectives: Our objective was to determine if the biomarker for axonal injury, serum cleaved tau (C-tau), predicts postconcussion syndrome (PCS) in adults after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Methods: C-tau was measured from blood obtained in the emergency department. Outcome was assessed at 3 months post injury using the Rivermead Postconcussion Symptoms Questionnaire and Acute Medical Outcomes SF-36v2 Health Survey (SF-36).

Results: Of 50 patients, there were 15 patients with detectable levels of C-tau, 10 patients with abnormal findings on initial head computed tomography (CT) and 22 patients with PCS. One-third of patients with detectable C-tau and 14.3% of patients without detectable C-tau had abnormal findings on head CT (P = .143). Serum C-tau was not detected more frequently in patients with PCS than those without, neither for all patients (P = .115) nor the subgroup with negative head CT (P = .253).

Conclusions: C-tau is a poor predictor of PCS after mTBI regardless of head CT result.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain Injuries / blood*
  • Brain Injuries / classification
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / blood
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / etiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • tau Proteins / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • tau Proteins