Therriault J, Woo MS, Salvadó G, Gobom J, Karikari TK, Janelidze S, Servaes S, Rahmouni N, Tissot C, Ashton NJ, Benedet AL, Montoliu-Gaya L, Macedo AC, Lussier FZ, Stevenson J, Vitali P, Friese MA, Massarweh G, Soucy JP, Pascoal TA, Stomrud E, Palmqvist S, Mattsson-Carlgren N, Gauthier S, Zetterberg H, Hansson O, Blennow K, Rosa-Neto P.

Background: Antibody-based immunoassays have enabled quantification of very low concentrations of phosphorylated tau (p-tau) protein forms in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), aiding in the diagnosis of AD. Mass spectrometry enables absolute quantification of multiple p-tau variants within a single run. The goal of this study was to compare the performance of mass spectrometry assessments of p-tau181, p-tau217 and p-tau231 with established immunoassay techniques. Methods: We measured p-tau181, p-tau217 and p-tau231 concentrations in CSF from 173 participants from the TRIAD cohort and 394 participants from the BioFINDER-2 cohort using both mass spectrometry and immunoassay methods. All subjects were clinically evaluated by dementia specialists and had amyloid-PET and tau-PET assessments. Bland-Altman analyses evaluated the agreement between immunoassay and mass spectrometry p-tau181, p-tau217 and p-tau231. P-tau associations with amyloid-PET and tau-PET uptake were also compared. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analyses compared the performance of mass spectrometry and immunoassays p-tau concentrations to identify amyloid-PET positivity. Results: Mass spectrometry and immunoassays of p-tau217 were highly comparable in terms of diagnostic performance, between-group effect sizes and associations with PET biomarkers. In contrast, p-tau181 and p-tau231 concentrations measured using antibody-free mass spectrometry had lower performance compared with immunoassays. Conclusions: Our results suggest that while similar overall, immunoassay-based p-tau biomarkers are slightly superior to antibody-free mass spectrometry-based p-tau biomarkers. Future work is needed to determine whether the potential to evaluate multiple biomarkers within a single run offsets the slightly lower performance of antibody-free mass spectrometry-based p-tau quantification.

Mol Neurodegener. 2024 Jan 7;19(1):2

Link to Pubmed