Association Between Saturated Fatty Acid-Containing Phosphatidylcholine in CSF with Tau Phosphorylation

Previous studies in animal models have indicated that saturated fatty acids play a role in neurodegeneration. Yet in humans, more research is needed in order to confirm this suggestion. Here in the Yassine Lab, we have found interesting evidence that illustrates a correlation between various fatty acids with total tau and p-tau. This experiment was designed using two cohorts: a discovery group and a cohort of older non-demented individuals. Researchers analyzed the patients’ cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of sphingomyelins (SM) and phosphatidylcholine (PC)-containing fatty acids. 

We associated those readings with the patients’ total tau and p-tau, finding interesting data. Figure 1 shows how only 4 lipid species were found in the confirmation cohort, but a significant 37 lipid species in the discovery group. In figures 3 and 4, we analyzed the CSF in both test groups and concluded a positive association between saturated phospholipids and p-tau. This data suggest that PC is associated with Alzheimer’s Dementia pathology via tau phosphorylation independent of amyloid biomarker status. The illustration in Figure 4 shows the various pathways that lead to the hyperphosphorylation of tau. It is important to further understand these processes because they give insight into what drives neurodegeneration. 

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