Potential mechanisms and implications for the formation of tau oligomeric strains

Julia E. Gerson, Amrit Mudher, Rakez Kayed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The culmination of many years of increasing research into the toxicity of tau aggregation in neurodegenerative disease has led to the consensus that soluble, oligomeric forms of tau are likely the most toxic entities in disease. While tauopathies overlap in the presence of tau pathology, each disease has a unique combination of symptoms and pathological features; however, most study into tau has grouped tau oligomers and studied them as a homogenous population. Established evidence from the prion field combined with the most recent tau and amyloidogenic protein research suggests that tau is a prion-like protein, capable of seeding the spread of pathology throughout the brain. Thus, it is likely that tau may also form prion-like strains or diverse conformational structures that may differ by disease and underlie some of the differences in symptoms and pathology in neurodegenerative tauopathies. The development of techniques and new technology for the detection of tau oligomeric strains may, therefore, lead to more efficacious diagnostic and treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disease. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-496
Number of pages15
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Tau
  • aggregation
  • amyloid
  • neurodegeneration
  • oligomer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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