Tauopathies are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases characterised by abnormal metabolism of tau proteins leading to intracellular accumulation and formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). These neurofibrillary tangles are deposited in the cytosol of neurons and glial cells. 

Examples of tauopathies include 3:

It should be noted that some texts 2 define tauopathies as disease characterised by mutations in the tau protein gene itself. If such a strict definition is used, even though the histopathological hallmark of Alzheimer disease is the presence of numerous neurofibrillary tangles (also formed by tau proteins) as no defect in the tau protein gene has been identified it would not strictly be a tauopathy. 

More recently the discovery of the glymphatic pathway and the importance of this in the normal physiological clearance of extracellular solutes including beta-amyloid, suggests that there is also the possibility of reduced clearance, in addition to abnormal metabolism, as the underpinning of some tauopathies including chronic traumatic encephalopathy 4

Neurodegenerative diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are legion and their classification just as protean. A useful approach is to divide them according to underlying pathological process, although even using this schema, there is much overlap and thus resulting confusion.

Share article

Article information

rID: 13021
Section: Gamuts
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Tauopathy

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.