Increased CSF α-synuclein levels in Alzheimer's disease: correlation with tau levels

Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Oct;10(5 Suppl):S290-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2013.10.004. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


Background: Given the difficult clinical differential diagnosis between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), growing interest resulted in research on α-synuclein as a potential cerebrospinal fluid biomarker (CSF) for synucleinopathies.

Methods: CSF α-synuclein-140 concentrations were determined by a prototype xMAP™ bead-based assay (Innogenetics NV, Belgium). In addition, CSF amyloid β1-42 (Aβ1-42), total tau (T-tau), and phosphorylated tau (P-tau181P) levels were determined.

Results: CSF α-synuclein levels were higher in AD patients as compared with cognitively healthy controls (P=.019) and patients with synucleinopathies (P<.001). CSF α-synuclein levels were correlated with T-tau (P<.001) and P-tau181P (P<.001) levels in autopsy-confirmed AD patients. A diagnostic algorithm using α-synuclein and P-tau181P discriminated neuropathologically confirmed AD from DLB patients, resulting in sensitivity and specificity values of 85% and 81%, respectively.

Conclusion: Because CSF α-synuclein levels were significantly higher in AD as compared with synucleinopathies, α-synuclein might have a value as a biomarker for differential dementia diagnosis.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Biomarker; Cerebrospinal fluid; Dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; tau; α-Synuclein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Lewy Body Disease / pathology
  • Male
  • Peptide Fragments / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Phosphorylation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • alpha-Synuclein / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • MAPT protein, human
  • Peptide Fragments
  • SNCA protein, human
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • tau Proteins