Tau is an essential protein in the brain, supporting neurons for normal neuronal function. However, when tau starts to ‘behave’ badly it begins to misfold and abnormally bind or aggregate within the neurons. This begins a process of tau oligomerization, leading to tau tangles and the destruction of nerve cells critical for memory. Tau oligomers can spread between cells, thereby initiating the spread of the damaging process. The level of tau pathology is proven to correlate with clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
More information on how tau pathology causes Alzheimer's disease is captured in the animation below.