Tau imaging: early progress and future directions

Lancet Neurol. 2015 Jan;14(1):114-24. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70252-2.


Use of selective in-vivo tau imaging will enable improved understanding of tau aggregation in the brain, facilitating research into causes, diagnosis, and treatment of major tauopathies such as Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal syndrome, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and some variants of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Neuropathological studies of Alzheimer's disease show a strong association between tau deposits, decreased cognitive function, and neurodegenerative changes. Selective tau imaging will allow the in-vivo exploration of such associations and measure the global and regional changes in tau deposits over time. Such imaging studies will comprise non-invasive assessment of the spatial and temporal pattern of tau deposition over time, providing insight into the role tau plays in ageing and helping to establish the relation between cognition, genotype, neurodegeneration, and other biomarkers. Once validated, selective tau imaging might be useful as a diagnostic, prognostic, and progression biomarker, and a surrogate marker for the monitoring of efficacy and patient recruitment for anti-tau therapeutic trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • tau Proteins