Although the mechanisms of toxic activity of tau are not fully recognized, it is supposed that the tau toxicity is related rather not to insoluble tau aggregates but to its intermediate forms. It seems that neurofibrillar tangles (NFTs) themselves, despite being composed of toxic tau, are probably neither necessary nor sufficient for tau-induced neuronal dysfunction and toxicity. Tau oligomers (TauOs) formed during the early stages of tau aggregation are the pathological forms that play a key role in eliciting the loss of neurons and behavioral impairments in several neurodegenerative disorders called tauopathies. They can be found in tauopathic diseases, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Evidence of co-occurrence of b-amyloid, α-synuclein, and tau into their most toxic forms, i.e., oligomers, suggests that these species interact and influence each other’s aggregation in several tauopathies. The mechanism responsible for oligomeric tau neurotoxicity is a subject of intensive investigation. In this review, we summarize the most recent literature on the damaging effect of TauOs on the stability of the genome and the function of the nucleus, energy production and mitochondrial function, cell signaling and synaptic plasticity, the microtubule assembly, neuronal cytoskeleton and axonal transport, and the effectiveness of the protein degradation system.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.