Tau, one of the major microtubule-associated proteins, modulates the dynamic properties of microtubules in the mammalian nervous system. Tau is abundantly expressed in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus. Insoluble and filamentous inclusions of tau in neurons or glia are discovered in neurodegenerative diseases termed ‘tauopathies’, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), argyrophilic grain disease (AGD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Pick’s disease (PiD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Accumulation of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are composed of hyperphosphorylated tau, is directly correlated with the degree of Alzheimer\'s dementia. This chapter reviews the role of tau protein in physiological conditions and the pathological changes of tau related to neurodegenerative diseases. The applications of tau as a therapeutic target are also discussed.
Part of the book: Hippocampus