Tau as a therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease

Curr Alzheimer Res. 2011 Sep;8(6):666-77. doi: 10.2174/156720511796717195.


Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are one of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and are primarily composed of aggregates of hyperphosphorylated forms of the microtubule associated protein tau. It is likely that an imbalance of kinase and phosphatase activities leads to the abnormal phosphorylation of tau and subsequent aggregation. The wide ranging therapeutic approaches that are being developed include to inhibit tau kinases, to enhance phosphatase activity, to promote microtubule stability, and to reduce tau aggregate formation and/or enhance their clearance with small molecule drugs or by immunotherapeutic means. Most of these promising approaches are still in preclinical development whilst some have progressed to Phase II clinical trials. By pursuing these lines of study, a viable therapy for AD and related tauopathies may be obtained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / metabolism*
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Tauopathies / metabolism
  • Tauopathies / pathology
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • tau Proteins