Test Catalog

Test ID: TAUI    
TAU Immunostain, Technical Component Only

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Analysis of neurodegenerative disorders

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Tau proteins are microtubule-associated proteins that regulate the dynamics of the microtubule network, and are especially involved in the axonal transport and neuronal plasticity. Antibodies to Tau proteins stain the tangles of microtubules associated with Alzheimer cytoskeletal pathology; neurofibrillary tangles, neuropil threads, and neuritic ("senile") plaques (NPs). Tau has become important in the analysis of a wide variety of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer disease, Pick disease, corticobasal degeneration, supranuclear palsy, multisystem atrophy, as well as a recently recognized category of disorders known as tauopathies.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

This test includes only technical performance of the stain (no pathologist interpretation is performed). Mayo Clinic cannot provide an interpretation of tech only stains outside the context of a pathology consultation. If an interpretation is needed, refer to PATHC / Pathology Consultation for a full diagnostic evaluation or second opinion of the case. All material associated with the case is required. Additional specific stains may be requested as part of the pathology consultation, and will be performed as necessary at the discretion of the Mayo pathologist.


The positive and negative controls are verified as showing appropriate immunoreactivity and documentation is retained at Mayo Clinic Rochester. If a control tissue is not included on the slide, a scanned image of the relevant quality control tissue is available upon request. Contact 855-516-8404.


Interpretation of this test should be performed in the context of the patient's clinical history and other diagnostic tests by a qualified pathologist.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Age of a cut paraffin section can affect immunoreactivity. Stability thresholds vary widely among published literature and are antigen-dependent. Best practice is for paraffin sections to be cut within 6 weeks.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Bigio EH: Making the Diagnosis of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2013;137:314-325

2. Smith C, Graham DI, Murray LS, Nicoll JAR: Tau immunohistochemistry in acute brain injury. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 2003;29:496-502

3. Tokuda T, Ikeda S, Yanagisawa N, et al: Re-examination of ex-boxers' brains using immunohistochemistry with antibodies to amyloid beta-protein and tau protein. Acta Neuropathol 1991;82(4):280-285