Sleep Deprivation Affects Tau Phosphorylation in Human Cerebrospinal Fluid

Ann Neurol. 2020 May;87(5):700-709. doi: 10.1002/ana.25702. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


Tau hyperphosphorylation is an early step in tau-mediated neurodegeneration and is associated with intracellular aggregation of tau as neurofibrillary tangles, neuronal and synaptic loss, and eventual cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer disease. Sleep loss increases the cerebrospinal fluid concentration of amyloid-β and tau. Using mass spectrometry, we measured tau and phosphorylated tau concentrations in serial samples of cerebrospinal fluid collected from participants who were sleep-deprived, treated with sodium oxybate, or allowed to sleep normally. We found that sleep loss affected phosphorylated tau differently depending on the modified site. These findings suggest a mechanism for sleep loss to increase risk of Alzheimer disease. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:700-709.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphorylation
  • Sleep Deprivation / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • MAPT protein, human
  • tau Proteins