Update on tauopathies

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the role of tau beyond the stabilization of microtubules and on the clinical, pathological, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of tauopathies.

Recent findings

Beyond its function as a microtubule-associated tau protein, tau is also involved in gene regulation, signal transduction and metabolism. Experimental models allow for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Tauopathies encompass different disorders that may manifest with various clinical syndromes. Differential diagnosis with other proteinopathies is still challenging. Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and radiotracers were extensively studied in the last year. Although diagnostic accuracy remains deceiving in non-Alzheimer's disease tauopathies, positron emission tomography tau tracers could be used to monitor disease progression.

Summary

Despite the advent of novel therapeutic approaches and the increasing number of clinical trials in tauopathies, accurate clinical diagnosis is still an unmet need and better tau biomarkers are still desperately needed. Although primary taupathies are rare and heterogeneous disorders, their combined prevalence and the importance of tau disorder in Alzheimer's disease and secondary tauopathies makes research on tauopathy a priority – because it could benefit many patients.

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