New research uncovers subtypes linked to tau protein alterations among patients with Alzheimer’s

According to a new study, published in Nature Medicine, researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital uncovered subtypes correlated with tau protein alterations among people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

“We hypothesized that the kinetics of tau spread may vary if the properties of the propagating tau proteins vary across individuals,” the co-authors stated in their findings.

“We carried out biochemical, biophysical, MS and both cell- and animal-based-bioactivity assays to characterize tau in 32 patients with AD.”

The study focused on samples from 32 patients diagnosed with the neurodegenerative condition. A comprehensive characterization of molecular features associated with tau proteins, a hallmark indicator of Alzheimer’s disease, was initiated by researchers.

“We found striking patient-to-patient heterogeneity in the hyperphosphorylated species of soluble, oligomeric, seed-competent tau,” the findings stated.

“Tau seeding activity correlates with the aggressiveness of the clinical disease, and some post-translational modification (PTM) sites appear to be associated with both enhanced seeding activity and worse clinical outcomes, whereas others are not,” the co-authors also determined.

“These data suggest that different individuals with ‘typical’ AD may have distinct biochemical features of tau. These data are consistent with the possibility that individuals with AD, much like people with cancer, may have multiple molecular drivers of an otherwise common phenotype, and emphasize the potential for personalized therapeutic approaches for slowing clinical progression of AD.”

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