Publications & Posters

Repetitive Head Impact Exposure And Later-life Plasma Total TAU In Former NFL Players

Alzheimer’s And Dementia | December 19, 2016

Michael L. Aloscoa, Yorghos Tripodisa,Johnny Jarnagina, Christine M. Baugha, Brett Martina, Christine E. Chaissona, Nate Estochen, Linan Song, Robert C. Cantua, Andreas Jeromin, Robert A. Stern
Alzheimer’s & Dementia 

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Introduction: Blood protein analysis of total tau (t-tau) may be a practical screening biomarker for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative tauopathy associated with repetitive head impact (RHI) exposure. We examined plasma t-tau in symptomatic former NFL players compared with controls and the relationship between RHI exposure and later-life plasma t-tau.

Methods: Ninety-six former NFL players (age 40–69) and 25 same-age controls underwent blood draw to determine plasma t-tau levels. The cumulative head impact index (CHII) quantified RHI exposure. Subjects completed measures of clinical function.

Results: A higher CHII predicted greater plasma t-tau in the former NFL players (P = .0137). No group differences in plasma t-tau emerged, but a concentration ≥3.56 pg/mL was 100% specific to former NFL players. Plasma t-tau did not predict clinical function.

Discussion: Greater RHI exposure predicted higher later-life plasma t-tau concentrations, and further study on plasma t-tau as a candidate screening biomarker for CTE is warranted.