Tau in Peripheral Tissues of PSP and CBD

Principal Investigator: Dr. Brittany Dugger
University of California San Francisco



Determining if PSP and CBD indicators are found in tissues outside the brain as a means of facilitating diagnosis and intervention.

The brain is connected to the body; despite this fact many studies on PSP and CBD focus solely on the brain. The purpose of this project is to determine if items that are found within the brains of PSP and CBD can be also found within peripheral tissues. This will indicate the feasibility of a biopsy site for improving the clinical diagnostic accuracy of PSP and CBD, equating to better treatments and providing new insights into these diseases.

This is especially critical since many persons with PSP and CBD are misdiagnosed during life; if there are more accurate diagnoses it will equate to better prognoses and treatments. Although there is much work being done in other neurodegenerative diseases in this manner, no one to date has assessed if tau pathology, the main pathology within the brains of PSP and CBD patients, can be found outside of the brain and spinal cord.

This study will use tissue collected from autopsy-confirmed PSP and CBD patients to determine if tau pathology can be found in peripheral tissues that are more readily accessible and typically screened and probed in a health care setting (the sigmoid colon, abdominal skin, scalp and submandibular gland). The investigator has no knowledge of studies with peripheral tissues of PSP and CBD individuals having extensive clinical data in which these analyses can be performed.

Thus, the project is well positioned to create a new paradigm for studying PSP and CBD through understanding how pathologies within the brain may exist in periphery tissues; this will lay the groundwork for a wide range of potential interventions that are truly distinct from approaches currently under investigation.


Please click here to read Dr. Dugger’s final report.