More MS news articles for July 2000

Tau Protein: A Marker Of Multiple Sclerosis Damage?

A DGReview of :"Increased Cerebrospinal Fluid Tau Protein in Multiple Sclerosis" European Neurology

By Mark Greener

Measuring levels of tau protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis may allow clinicians to estimate the extent of neuronal damage, according to a recent paper.

Axonal damage is commonly seen in multiple sclerosis lesions and can cause irreversible neurological damage. As a result, several groups of researchers are trying to identify markers of early axonal damage.

Against this background, the authors of the new study measured levels of the microtubule-associated protein tau in cerebrospinal fluid among multiple sclerosis patients and controls.

Multiple sclerosis patients showed increased tau levels in cerebrospinal fluid compared to controls. Half the multiple sclerosis patients presented with tau levels above controls' upper limit. This increase was seen in relapsing-remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis.

The authors suggest that raised levels of tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid may indicate impairment of axons in some multiple sclerosis patients. This may provide a way to estimate the extent of axonal damage.