CSF tau and β-amyloid predict cerebral synucleinopathy in autopsied Lewy body disorders

David J. Irwin*, Sharon X. Xie, David Coughlin, Naomi Nevler, Rizwan S. Akhtar, Corey T. McMillan, Edward B. Lee, David A. Wolk, Daniel Weintraub, Alice Chen-Plotkin, John E. Duda, Meredith Spindler, Andrew Siderowf, Howard I. Hurtig, Leslie M. Shaw, Murray Grossman, John Q. Trojanowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective To test the association of antemortem CSF biomarkers with postmortem pathology in Lewy body disorders (LBD). Methods Patients with autopsy-confirmed LBD (n = 24) and autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer disease (AD) (n = 23) and cognitively normal (n = 36) controls were studied. In LBD, neuropathologic criteria defined Lewy body α-synuclein (SYN) stages with medium/high AD copathology (SYN + AD = 10) and low/no AD copathology (SYN-AD = 14). Ordinal pathology scores for tau, β-amyloid (Aβ), and SYN pathology were averaged across 7 cortical regions to obtain a global cerebral score for each pathology. CSF total tau (t-tau), phosphorylated tau at threonine 181, and Aβ 1-42 levels were compared between LBD and control groups and correlated with global cerebral pathology scores in LBD with linear regression. Diagnostic accuracy for postmortem categorization of LBD into SYN + AD vs SYN-AD or neocortical vs brainstem/limbic SYN stage was tested with receiver operating curves. Results SYN + AD had higher CSF t-tau (mean difference 27.0 ± 8.6 pg/mL) and lower Aβ 1-42 (mean difference-84.0 ± 22.9 g/mL) compared to SYN-AD (p < 0.01, both). Increasing global cerebral tau and plaque scores were associated with higher CSF t-tau (R 2 = 0.15-0.16, p < 0.05, both) and lower Aβ 1-42 (R 2 = 0.43-0.49, p < 0.001, both), while increasing cerebral SYN scores were associated with lower CSF Aβ 1-42 (R 2 = 0.31, p < 0.001) and higher CSF t-tau/Aβ 1-42 ratio (R 2 = 0.27, p = 0.01). CSF t-tau/Aβ 1-42 ratio had 100% specificity and 90% sensitivity for SYN + AD, and CSF Aβ 1-42 had 77% specificity and 82% sensitivity for neocortical SYN stage. Conclusions Higher antemortem CSF t-tau/Aβ 1-42 and lower Aβ 1-42 levels are predictive of increasing cerebral AD and SYN pathology. These biomarkers may identify patients with LBD vulnerable to cortical SYN pathology who may benefit from both SYN and AD-targeted disease-modifying therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1038-e1046
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 20 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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