Cerebrospinal Fluid Tau Cleaved by Caspase-6 Reflects Brain Levels and Cognition in Aging and Alzheimer Disease

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Abstract

Caspase-6 (Casp6) activation in the brain is implicated early in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). In view of the need for early AD diagnosis, brain Casp6 activity was investigated by measuring Tau cleaved by Casp6 (TauΔCasp6) protein in postmortem cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 7 non–cognitively impaired; 5 mild cognitively impaired; and 12 mild, moderate, and severe AD patients. Levels of TauΔCasp6 in CSF accurately reflected the levels of active Casp6 and TauΔCasp6 detected using immunohistochemistry in hippocampal sections from the same individuals. Levels of CSF TauΔCasp6 significantly correlated with AD severity and with lower Global Cognitive Scores; Mini-Mental State Examination scores; and episodic, semantic, and working memory scores. Regression analyses suggested that the CSF TauΔCasp6 levels combined with TauΔCasp6 brain pathology predict cognitive performance. These results indicate that CSF TauΔCasp6 levels hold promise as a novel early biomarker of AD.

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