Detecting tau in serum of transgenic animal models after tau immunotherapy treatment

Cristina d'Abramo, Christopher M. Acker, Joel B. Schachter, Giuseppe Terracina, Xiaohai Wang, Stefanie K. Forest, Peter Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In the attempt to elucidate if the “peripheral sink hypothesis” could be a potential mechanism of action for tau removal in passive immunotherapy experiments, we have examined tau levels in serum of chronically injected JNPL3 and Tg4510 transgenic animals. Measurement of tau in serum of mice treated with tau antibodies is challenging because of the antibody interference in sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. To address this issue, we have developed a heat-treatment protocol at acidic pH to remove interfering molecules from serum, with excellent recovery of tau. The present data show that pan-tau and conformational antibodies do increase tau in mouse sera. However, these concentrations in serum do not consistently correlate with reductions of tau pathology in brain, suggesting that large elevations of tau species measured in serum are not predictive of efficacy. Here, we describe a reliable method to detect tau in serum of transgenic animals that have undergone tau immunotherapy. Levels of tau in human serum are less than the sensitivity of current assays, although artifactual signals are common. The method may be useful in similarly treated humans, a situation in which false positive signals are likely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Extracellular tau
  • Human antibodies against mouse immunoglobulin
  • Tau ELISA
  • Tau immunotherapy
  • Tau in serum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting tau in serum of transgenic animal models after tau immunotherapy treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this