CSF tau levels influence cortical plasticity in alzheimer's disease patients

Giacomo Koch, Zaira Esposito, Hajime Kusayanagi, Fabrizia Monteleone, Claudia Codecá, Francesco Di Lorenzo, Carlo Caltagirone, Giorgio Bernardi, Alessandro Martorana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative process characterized by progressive neuronal degeneration, reduced levels of neurotransmitters, and altered forms of synaptic plasticity. In animal models of AD, amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau proteins are supposed to interfere with synaptic transmission. In the current study, we investigated the correlation between motor cortical plasticity, measured with 1 Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and the levels of Aβ 1-42, total tau (t-Tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-Tau) detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients. We found that the overall rTMS after effects were milder in AD patients in comparison with controls. In AD patients the amount of rTMS-induced inhibition correlated with CSF t-Tau, but not with Aβ 1-42 CSF levels. Surprisingly, higher CSF t-Tau levels were associated to a stronger inhibition of the motor evoked potentials, implying that the expected effects of the 1 Hz rTMS protocol were more evident in patients with more pathological t-Tau CSF levels. These data could be interpreted as the consequence of CSF t-Tau mediated abnormal excitatory activity and could suggest that CSF t-Tau may impact mechanisms of cortical plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • cortical plasticity
  • tau
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology

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