Plasma levels of tau phosphorylated at threonine-217 (p-tau217) is a candidate tool to monitor Alzheimer's disease. We studied 150 cognitively unimpaired participants and 100 patients with mild cognitive impairment in the Swedish BioFINDER study. P-tau217 was measured repeatedly for up to 6 years (median three samples per person, median time from first to last sample, 4.3 years). Preclinical (amyloid-β-positive cognitively unimpaired, n = 62) and prodromal (amyloid-β-positive mild cognitive impairment, n = 49) Alzheimer's disease had accelerated p-tau217 compared to amyloid-β-negative cognitively unimpaired (β = 0.56, P < 0.001, using linear mixed effects models) and amyloid-β-negative mild cognitive impairment patients (β = 0.67, P < 0.001), respectively. Mild cognitive impairment patients who later converted to Alzheimer's disease dementia (n = 40) had accelerated p-tau217 compared to other mild cognitive impairment patients (β = 0.79, P < 0.001). P-tau217 did not change in amyloid-β-negative participants, or in patients with mild cognitive impairment who did not convert to Alzheimer's disease dementia. For 80% power, 109 participants per arm were required to observe a slope reduction in amyloid-β-positive cognitively unimpaired (71 participants per arm in amyloid-β-positive mild cognitive impairment). Longitudinal increases in p-tau217 correlated with longitudinal worsening of cognition and brain atrophy. In summary, plasma p-tau217 increases during early Alzheimer's disease and can be used to monitor disease progression.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; biomarker; p-tau; p-tau217; plasma.
© The Author(s) (2020). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain.