Cerebrospinal fluid tau and phosphorylated tau protein are elevated in corticobasal syndrome

Mov Disord. 2011 Jan;26(1):169-73. doi: 10.1002/mds.23341. Epub 2010 Sep 10.


Differentiating corticobasal syndrome (CBS) from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) can be difficult. To investigate the additional value of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in the diagnostic differentiation of parkinsonism, we analyzed the CSF concentrations of total protein, lactate and brain specific proteins amyloid-β(42) protein, tau protein (t-tau), and tau protein phosphorylated at Thr181 (p-tau), in CSF samples from patients with PSP (n = 21), CBS (n = 12), and PD (n = 28). CBS patients demonstrated higher concentrations of t-tau and p-tau compared with PSP and PD patients. In discriminating CBS and PD, t-tau offered the best combination of sensitivity (75%) and specificity (90.9%), followed by p-tau (sensitivity 87.5% and specificity 75%). The p-tau/t-tau ratio resulted in sensitivity of 84.2% and specificity of 66.7% in discriminating PSP and CBS. In conclusion, our results suggest that CSF parameters are of additional value in the diagnostic differentiation of CBS and PD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphorylation
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • tau Proteins