Clinical Neuroscience

Additional value of tau protein measurement in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

CSEH Katalin Edina1, VERES Gábor1,2, DANICS Krisztina3,4, SZALÁRDY Levente1, NÁNÁSI Nikolett1, KLIVÉNYI Péter1, VÉCSEI László1,2, ZÁDORI Dénes1

JANUARY 30, 2019

Clinical Neuroscience - 2019;72(01-02)


Since the definite diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) can currently only be provided by autopsy, there is a special need for fine diagnostic tools in live patients to achieve accurate diagnosis as early as possible. The aim of this study was to perform a preliminary retrospective analysis on the utility of the measurement of total Tau (tTau) and some other biomarkers from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with rapidly progressive dementia in the diagnostic work up of CJD. Beside the assessment of relevant clinical data and the findings of electroencephalography and brain magnetic resonance imaging, the presence of 14-3-3 protein and the levels of tTau were determined by Western blot technique and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from the CSF of 19 patients diagnosed with rapidly progressive dementia between the period of 2004-2017 at the Department of Neurology, University of Szeged. This preliminary study provided 100% sensitivity for 14-3-3, and interestingly, only 40% specificity to support the clinical diagnosis of CJD. Regarding tTau, the sensitivity values were calculated to be 100% or 83%, whereas the specificity values were 71% or 86%, depending on the applied cut-off levels. The poor specificity of 14-3-3 is not in line with literature data and may be the result of the small number of patients in the cohort with non-prion disease, predominantly consisting of disorders with considerable tissue damage, whereas tTau presented good sensitivity and specificity values. The combined application of these and novel chemical biomarkers may increase both sensitivity and specificity to a desired level.


  1. Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Albert Szent-Györgyi Clinical Center, University of Szeged, Szeged
  2. MTA-SZTE Neuroscience Research Group, Szeged
  3. Prion Disease and Neuropathology Reference Center, Semmelweis University, Budapest
  4. Department of Forensic and Insurance Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest



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