Tau in serum and CSF during cerebral injury
© Current Science Ltd 1997
Published: 1 March 1997
Elevated levels of neuron-specific proteins, such as neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and/or neuromodulin in serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of brain trauma patients are of prognostic value for the patients' outcome. Recently tau, a neuron-specific microtubule-associated protein, has been found to be elevated in CSF of Alzheimer patients. This elevation is at least partially due to loss of neuronal cells. Until now tau has not been detected in serum. Therefore, we investigated whether tau in serum or CSF can be used as a marker for neuronal loss in patients with various forms of acute cerebral injury.
Materials and methods
Consecutive samples of CSF and serum of patients admitted to the intensive care unit with cerebrospinal drain were simultaneously drawn on a daily basis. Tau was determined by Innotest hTau antigen (Innogenetics, Gent, Belgium).
Tau is increased in CSF after severe cerebral injury indicating the occurrence of recent neuronal damage. A further increase of tau in CSF after admission implies a secondary neuronal damage. Craniocerebral trauma, accompanied by damage to the blood-brain barrier, results in detection of tau in serum.