Tau Oligomers Transmit Their Own Pathology

The pattern of the spread of tau pathology in AD is very consistent and thus can be used to stage the disease. The observation that tau pathology progresses to synaptically connected regions of the brain led to the hypothesis that tau can spread its own pathology, much like an infection. Recent studies show that tau aggregates and specifically tau oligomers isolated from AD brain may act as templates for the misfolding and aggregation of native tau, thereby seeding the spread of the toxic forms of the protein.

These findings suggest that targeting the tau oligomer seeds could prevent them from transmitting tau pathology to healthy neurons, and demonstrate that tau can be a target for the development of disease modifying therapeutics for AD, FTD and multiple related tauopathies.