The symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI), a common condition in players of contact sports and in the military, are associated with acute neurological dysfunction and TBI is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Tauopathy associated with the aggregation of phosphorylated tau protein (P-tau) in the brain is a defining feature of the neurodegeneration associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s but it has not been observed in the early stages of TBI. Here Kun Ping Lu and colleagues show that tauopathy caused by cis P-tau, but not trans P-tau, is an early driver of brain injury in patients with TBI and in mouse models. Treating TBI mice with cis antibody blocks early production of cis P-tau and prevents further tauopathy and spread, and may be further developed to treat TBI after injury.
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