Cerebrospinal fluid tau protein levels in demented and nondemented alcoholics

Yu Ichi Morikawa, Hiroyuki Arai, Sachio Matsushita, Motoichiro Kato, Susumu Higuchi, Masakazu Miura, Hisako Kawakami, Makoto Higuchi, Nobuyuki Okamura, Manabu Tashiro, Toshifumi Matsui, Hidetada Sasaki

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The tau protein levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF-tau) were examined in 27 patients with alcohol dependence (20 demented and 7 nondemented), 36 age and dementia severity-matched patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and 23 age-matched normal control subjects. The CSF-tau levels in the demented alcoholic group (alcohol-induced organic brain disorders, 25.4 ± 10.2 pg/ml) was significantly lower (p < 0.0001) than that in the AD group (96.1 ± 53.3 pg/ml), but not significantly different from that in the nondemented alcoholics (18.1 ± 10.2 pg/ml) or the controls (19.2 ± 12.9 pg/ml). Using a 44.9 pg/ml as a cut-off value (mean + 2 SD of the normal control group), only one patient with alcohol-induced organic brain disorders exceeded the value, whereas 3 of 36 of the AD group showed CSF-tau levels less than this level. These findings suggest that alcohol-induced organic brain disorders are a group of dementias that are characterized by normal CSF-tau levels, and that the CSF examination for tau in combination with other clinical findings may help in differentiating alcohol-induced organic brain disorders from AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-577
Number of pages3
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr


  • Alcohol-induced organic brain disorders
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Tau protein


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