To determine the utility of longitudinal MRI measurements as potential biomarkers in the main genetic variants of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), including microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) and progranulin (GRN) mutations, and C9ORF72 repeat expansions, as well as sporadic FTD.
In this longitudinal study, 58 subjects were identified that had at least two MRI and MAPT mutations (n=21), GRN mutations (n=11), C9ORF72 repeat expansions (n=11) or sporadic FTD (n=15). A total of 198 serial MRI were analyzed. Rates of whole brain atrophy were calculated using the boundary-shift integral. Regional rates of atrophy were calculated using tensor-based morphometry. Sample size estimates were calculated.
Progressive brain atrophy was observed in all groups, with fastest rates of whole brain atrophy in GRN, followed by sporadic FTD, C9ORF72 and MAPT. All variants showed greatest rates in frontal and temporal lobes, with parietal lobes also strikingly affected in GRN. Regional rates of atrophy across all lobes were greater in GRN compared to the other groups. C9ORF72 showed greater rates of atrophy in left cerebellum and right occipital lobe than MAPT, and sporadic FTD showed greater rates in anterior cingulate than C9ORF72 and MAPT. Sample size estimates were lowest using temporal lobe rates in GRN, ventricular rates in MAPT and C9ORF72, and whole brain rates in sporadic FTD.
These data support the utility of using rates of atrophy as outcome measures in future drug trials in FTD and show that different imaging biomarkers may offer advantages in the different variants of FTD.
MRI; longitudinal; frontotemporal dementia; genetics; tensor-based morphometry
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by preserved whole brain and medial temporal lobe volumes compared to Alzheimer’s disease dementia (AD) on MRI. However, frequently coexistent AD-type pathology may influence the pattern of regional brain atrophy rates in DLB patients. We investigated the pattern and magnitude of the atrophy rates from two serial MRIs in autopsy-confirmed DLB (n=20) and mixed DLB/AD patients (n=22), compared to AD (n=30) and elderly non-demented controls (n=15), followed antemortem. DLB patients without significant AD-type pathology were characterized by lower global and regional rates of atrophy, similar to controls. The mixed DLB/AD patients displayed greater rates in the whole brain, temporo-parietal cortices, hippocampus and amygdala, and ventricle expansion, similar to AD patients. In the DLB and DLB/AD patients, the atrophy rates correlated with Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage, cognitive decline and progression of motor symptoms. Global and regional atrophy rates are associated with AD-type pathology in DLB, and can be used as biomarkers of AD progression in patients with LB pathology.
autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy bodies; Alzheimer’s disease; serial MRI; atrophy rate; Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage; sample size estimate
Our objective was to examine associations between glucose metabolism, as measured by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET), and age and to evaluate the impact of carriage of an apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele on glucose metabolism and on the associations between glucose metabolism and age. We studied 806 cognitively normal (CN) and 70 amyloid-imaging-positive cognitively impaired participants (35 with mild cognitive impairment and 35 with Alzheimer’s disease [AD] dementia) from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and an ancillary study who had undergone structural MRI, FDG PET, and 11C-Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET. Using partial volume corrected and uncorrected FDG PET glucose uptake ratios, we evaluated associations of regional FDG ratios with age and carriage of an APOE ε4 allele in CN participants between the ages of 30 and 95 years, and compared those findings with the cognitively impaired participants. In region-of-interest (ROI) analyses, we found modest but statistically significant declines in FDG ratio in most cortical and subcortical regions as a function of age. We also found a main effect of APOE ε4 genotype on FDG ratio, with greater uptake in ε4 noncarriers compared with carriers but only in the posterior cingulate and/or precuneus, lateral parietal, and AD-signature meta-ROI. The latter consisted of voxels from posterior cingulate and/or precuneus, lateral parietal, and inferior temporal. In age- and sex-matched CN participants the magnitude of the difference in partial volume corrected FDG ratio in the AD-signature meta-ROI for APOE ε4 carriers compared with noncarriers was about 4 times smaller than the magnitude of the difference between age- and sex-matched elderly APOE ε4 carrier CN compared with AD dementia participants. In an analysis in participants older than 70 years (31.3% of whom had elevated PiB), there was no interaction between PiB status and APOE ε4 genotype with respect to glucose metabolism. Glucose metabolism declines with age in many brain regions. Carriage of an APOE ε4 allele was associated with reductions in FDG ratio in the posterior cingulate and/or precuneus, lateral parietal, and AD-signature ROIs, and there was no interaction between age and APOE ε4 status. The posterior cingulate and/or precuneus and lateral parietal regions have a unique vulnerability to reductions in glucose metabolic rate as a function both of age and carriage of an APOE ε4 allele.
Aging; Alzheimer’s disease; FDG positron emission tomography; Apolipoprotein E
To investigate clinical, imaging, and pathologic associations of the cingulate island sign (CIS) in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We retrospectively identified and compared patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB (n = 39); patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) matched by age, sex, and education (n = 39); and cognitively normal controls (n = 78) who underwent 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and C11 Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET scans. Among these patients, we studied those who came to autopsy and underwent Braak neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) staging (n = 10).
Patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB had a higher ratio of posterior cingulate to precuneus plus cuneus metabolism, cingulate island sign (CIS), on FDG-PET than patients with AD (p < 0.001), a finding independent of β-amyloid load on PiB-PET (p = 0.56). Patients with CIS positivity on visual assessment of FDG-PET fit into the group of high- or intermediate-probability DLB pathology and received clinical diagnosis of DLB, not AD. Higher CIS ratio correlated with lower Braak NFT stage (r = −0.96; p < 0.001).
Our study found that CIS on FDG-PET is not associated with fibrillar β-amyloid deposition but indicates lower Braak NFT stage in patients with DLB. Identifying biomarkers that measure relative contributions of underlying pathologies to dementia is critical as neurotherapeutics move toward targeted treatments.
To determine antemortem MRI findings associated with microinfarcts at autopsy.
Patients with microinfarcts (n = 22) and patients without microinfarcts (n = 44) who underwent antemortem MRI were identified from a dementia clinic–based, population–based, and community clinic–based autopsy cohort. The microinfarct and no-microinfarct groups were matched on age at MRI, age at death, sex, APOE status, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and pathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. Brain infarcts were assessed on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI. White matter hyperintensities on FLAIR MRI and hippocampal volumes on T1-weighted MRI were quantified using automated methods. A subset of subjects with microinfarcts (n = 15) and a matched group of subjects without microinfarcts (n = 15) had serial T1-weighted MRIs and were included in an analysis of global and regional brain atrophy rates using automated methods.
The presence of cortical (p = 0.03) and subcortical (p = 0.02) infarcts on antemortem MRI was associated with presence of microinfarcts at autopsy. Higher numbers of cortical (p = 0.05) and subcortical (p = 0.03) infarcts on antemortem MRI were also associated with presence of microinfarcts. Presence of microinfarcts was not associated with white matter hyperintensities and cross-sectional hippocampal volume on antemortem MRI. Whole-brain and regional precuneus, motor, and somatosensory atrophy rates were higher in subjects with microinfarcts compared to subjects without microinfarcts.
Microinfarcts increase brain atrophy rates independent of Alzheimer disease pathology. Association between microinfarct pathology and macroinfarcts on MRI suggests either common risk factors or a shared pathophysiology and potentially common preventive targets.
We evaluated the relationship of amyloid, seen on Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET, and metabolism, seen on [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET, in normal subjects to better understand pathogenesis and biomarker selection in presymptomatic subjects.
Normal participants (aged 70–95 years; 600 with PiB-PET, FDG-PET, and MRI) were included. We performed a cross-sectional evaluation and subcategorized participants into amyloid-negative (<1.4), high-normal (1.4–1.5), positive (1.5–2.0), and markedly positive (>2.0) PiB standardized uptake value ratio groups representing different levels of amyloid brain load. Associations with metabolism were assessed in each group. Relationships with APOE ε4 carriage were evaluated.
Hypometabolism in “Alzheimer disease (AD)-signature” regions was strongly associated with PiB load. Hypometabolism was greater with more positive PiB levels. Additional, more-diffuse cortical hypometabolism was also found to be associated with PiB, although less so. No hypermetabolism was seen in any subset. No significant incremental hypometabolism was seen in APOE-positive vs -negative subjects.
Hypometabolism in PiB-positive, cognitively normal subjects in a population-based cohort occurs in AD-signature cortical regions and to a lesser extent in other cortical regions. It is more pronounced with higher amyloid load and supports a dose-dependent association. The effect of APOE ε4 carriage in this group of subjects does not appear to modify their hypometabolic “AD-like” neurodegeneration. Consideration of hypometabolism associated with amyloid load may aid trials of AD drug therapy.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) characteristics of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitively normal controls (CN) were compared. DLB (n=34), AD (n=35) and CN (n=148) participated in a MRS study from frontal, posterior cingulate and occipital voxels. We investigated DLB patients with preserved hippocampal volumes to determine the MRS changes in DLB with low probability of overlapping AD pathology. DLB patients were characterized by decreased NAA/Cr in the occipital voxel. AD patients were characterized by lower NAA/Cr in the frontal and posterior cingulate voxels. Normal NAA/Cr levels in the frontal voxel differentiated DLB patients with preserved hippocampal volumes from AD patients. DLB and AD patients had elevated Cho/Cr and mI/Cr in the posterior cingulate. MRS abnormalities associated with loss of neuronal integrity localized to the occipital lobes in DLB, and the posterior cingulate gyri and frontal lobes in AD. This pattern of MRS abnormalities may have a role in differential diagnosis of DLB and in distinguishing DLB patients with overlapping AD pathology.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Alzheimer’s disease
The aim of this study was to determine whether the TAR DNA-binding
protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) independently has any effect on the clinical and
neuroimaging features typically ascribed to Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
pathology, and whether TDP-43 pathology could help shed light on the phenomenon
of resilient cognition in AD. Three-hundred forty-two subjects pathologically
diagnosed with AD were screened for the presence, burden and distribution of
TDP-43. All had been classified as cognitively impaired or normal, prior to
death. Atlas-based parcellation and voxel-based morphometry were used to assess
regional atrophy on MRI. Regression models controlling for age at death,
apolipoprotein ε4 and other AD-related pathologies were utilized to
explore associations between TDP-43 and cognition or brain atrophy, stratified
by Braak stage. Additionally, we determined whether the effects of TDP-43 were
mediated by hippocampal sclerosis. One-hundred ninety-five (57%) cases
were TDP-positive. After accounting for age, apolipoprotein ε4, and
other pathologies, TDP-43 had a strong effect on cognition, memory loss, and
medial temporal atrophy in AD. These effects were not mediated by hippocampal
sclerosis. TDP-positive subjects were 10× more likely to be cognitively
impaired at death compared to TDP-negative subjects. Greater cognitive
impairment and medial temporal atrophy were associated with greater TDP-43
burden and more extensive TDP-43 distribution. TDP-43 is an important factor in
the manifestation of the clinico-imaging features of AD. TDP-43 also appears to
be able to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. TDP-43
therefore should be considered a potential therapeutic target for the treatment
TDP-43; Alzheimer disease; resilience; APOE ε4; Braak stage; MRI
We investigated the associations of diabetes and hypertension with imaging biomarkers (markers of neuronal injury and ischemic damage) and with cognition in a population-based cohort without dementia.
Participants (n = 1,437, median age 80 years) were evaluated by a nurse and physician and underwent neuropsychological testing. A diagnosis of cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or dementia was made by an expert panel. Participants underwent MRI to determine cortical and subcortical infarctions, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume, hippocampal volume (HV), and whole brain volume (WBV). The medical records were reviewed for diabetes and hypertension in midlife or later.
Midlife diabetes was associated with subcortical infarctions (odds ratio, 1.85 [95% confidence interval, 1.09–3.15]; p = 0.02), reduced HV (−4% [−7 to −1.0]; p = 0.01), reduced WBV (−2.9% [−4.1 to −1.6]), and prevalent MCI (odds ratio, 2.08; p = 0.01). The association between diabetes and MCI persisted with adjustment for infarctions and WMH volume but was attenuated after adjustment for WBV (1.60 [0.87–2.95]; p = 0.13) and HV (1.82 [1.00–3.32]; p = 0.05). Midlife hypertension was associated with infarctions and WMH volume and was marginally associated with reduced performance in executive function. Effects of late-life onset of diabetes and hypertension were few.
Midlife onset of diabetes may affect late-life cognition through loss of brain volume. Midlife hypertension may affect executive function through ischemic pathology. Late-life onset of these conditions had fewer effects on brain pathology and cognition.
To determine structural MRI and digital microscopic characteristics of REM sleep behavior disorder in individuals with low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at autopsy.
Patients with autopsy-confirmed low-, intermediate-, and high-likelihood DLB, according to the probability statement recommended by the third report of the DLB Consortium, and antemortem MRI, were identified (n = 75). The clinical history was assessed for presence (n = 35) and absence (n = 40) of probable REM sleep behavior disorder (pRBD), and patients' antemortem MRIs were compared using voxel-based morphometry. Pathologic burdens of phospho-tau, β-amyloid, and α-synuclein were measured in regions associated with early neuropathologic involvement, the hippocampus and amygdala.
pRBD was present in 21 patients (60%) with high-likelihood, 12 patients (34%) with intermediate-likelihood, and 2 patients (6%) with low-likelihood DLB. Patients with pRBD were younger, more likely to be male (p ≤ 0.001), and had a more frequent neuropathologic diagnosis of diffuse (neocortical) Lewy body disease. In the hippocampus and amygdala, phospho-tau and β-amyloid burden were lower in patients with pRBD compared with those without pRBD (p < 0.01). α-Synuclein burden did not differ in the hippocampus, but trended in the amygdala. Patients without pRBD had greater atrophy of temporoparietal cortices, hippocampus, and amygdala (p < 0.001) than those with pRBD; atrophy of the hippocampus (p = 0.005) and amygdala (p = 0.02) were associated with greater phospho-tau burdens in these regions.
Presence of pRBD is associated with a higher likelihood of DLB and less severe Alzheimer-related pathology in the medial temporal lobes, whereas absence of pRBD is characterized by Alzheimer-like atrophy patterns on MRI and increased phospho-tau burden.
To investigate MRI and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) predictors of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in cognitively normal older adults.
Subjects were cognitively normal older adults (n = 1,156) who participated in the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging MRI/MRS study from August 2005 to December 2010 and had at least one annual clinical follow-up. Single-voxel MRS was performed from the posterior cingulate gyri, and hippocampal volumes and white matter hyperintensity volumes were quantified using automated methods. Brain infarcts were assessed on MRI. Cox proportional hazards regression, with age as the time scale, was used to assess the effect of MRI and MRS markers on the risk of progression from cognitively normal to MCI. Linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the effect of MRI and MRS markers on cognitive decline.
After a median follow-up of 2.8 years, 214 participants had progressed to MCI or dementia (estimated incidence rate = 6.1% per year; 95% confidence interval = 5.3%–7.0%). In univariable modeling, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensity volume, and N-acetylaspartate/myo-inositol were significant predictors of MCI in cognitively normal older adults. In multivariable modeling, only decreased hippocampal volume and N-acetylaspartate/myo-inositol were independent predictors of MCI. These MRI/MRS predictors of MCI as well as infarcts were associated with cognitive decline (p < 0.05).
Quantitative MRI and MRS markers predict progression to MCI and cognitive decline in cognitively normal older adults. MRS may contribute to the assessment of preclinical dementia pathologies by capturing neurodegenerative changes that are not detected by hippocampal volumetry.
The new criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) proposed 3 stages: abnormal levels of β-amyloid (stage 1); stage 1 plus evidence of brain injury (stage 2); and stage 2 plus subtle cognitive changes (stage 3). However, a large group of subjects with normal β-amyloid biomarkers have evidence of brain injury; we labeled them as “suspected non-Alzheimer pathway” (sNAP) group. The characteristics of the sNAP group are poorly understood.
Using the preclinical AD classification, 430 cognitively normal subjects from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who underwent brain MR, 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) were evaluated with FDG PET regional volumetrics, MR regional brain volumetrics, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume and number of infarcts. We examined cross-sectional associations across AD preclinical stages, those with all biomarkers normal, and the sNAP group.
The sNAP group had a lower proportion (14%) with APOE ε4 genotype than the preclinical AD stages 2 + 3. The sNAP group did not show any group differences compared to stages 2 + 3 of the preclinical AD group on measures of FDG PET regional hypometabolism, MR regional brain volume loss, cerebrovascular imaging lesions, vascular risk factors, imaging changes associated with α-synucleinopathy or physical findings of parkinsonism.
Cognitively normal persons with brain injury biomarker abnormalities, with or without abnormal levels of β-amyloid, were indistinguishable on a variety of imaging markers, clinical features and risk factors. The initial appearance of brain injury biomarkers that occurs in cognitively normal persons with preclinical AD may not depend on β-amyloidosis.
Alzheimer’s disease; PET imaging; MR imaging; Epidemiology
To model the temporal trajectory of β-amyloid accumulation using serial amyloid PET imaging.
Participants, aged 70–92 years, were enrolled in either the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (n = 246) or the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (n = 14). All underwent 2 or more serial amyloid PET examinations. There were 205 participants classified as cognitively normal and 55 as cognitively impaired (47 mild cognitive impairment and 8 Alzheimer dementia). We measured baseline amyloid PET-relative standardized uptake values (SUVR) and, for each participant, estimated a slope representing their annual amyloid accumulation rate. We then fit regression models to predict the rate of amyloid accumulation given baseline amyloid SUVR, and evaluated age, sex, clinical group, and APOE as covariates. Finally, we integrated the amyloid accumulation rate vs baseline amyloid PET SUVR association to an amyloid PET SUVR vs time association.
Rates of amyloid accumulation were low at low baseline SUVR. Rates increased to a maximum at baseline SUVR around 2.0, above which rates declined—reaching zero at baseline SUVR above 2.7. The rate of amyloid accumulation as a function of baseline SUVR had an inverted U shape. Integration produced a sigmoid curve relating amyloid PET SUVR to time. The average estimated time required to travel from an SUVR of 1.5–2.5 is approximately 15 years.
This roughly 15-year interval where the slope of the amyloid SUVR vs time curve is greatest and roughly linear represents a large therapeutic window for secondary preventive interventions.
We aimed to assess associations between clinical, imaging, pathological and genetic features and frontal lobe asymmetry in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Volumes of the left and right dorsolateral, medial and orbital frontal lobes were measured in 80 bvFTD subjects and subjects were classified into three groups according to the degree of asymmetry (asymmetric left, asymmetric right, symmetric) using cluster analysis. The majority of subjects were symmetric (65%), with 20% asymmetric left and 15% asymmetric right. There were no clinical differences across groups, although there was a trend for greater behavioral dyscontrol in right asymmetric compared to left asymmetric subjects. More widespread atrophy involving the parietal lobe was observed in the symmetric group. Genetic features differed across groups with symmetric frontal lobes associated with C9ORF72 and tau mutations, while asymmetric frontal lobes were associated with progranulin mutations. These findings therefore suggest that neuroanatomical patterns of frontal lobe atrophy in bvFTD are influenced by specific gene mutations.
Frontotemporal dementia; frontal lobes; MRI; asymmetry; microtubule associated protein tau; progranulin; C9ORF72; pathology
Four subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions have been described (types A–D). Of these four subtypes, motor neuron disease is more commonly associated with type B pathology, but has also been reported with type A pathology. We have noted, however, the unusual occurrence of cases of type C pathology having corticospinal tract degeneration. We aimed to assess the severity of corticospinal tract degeneration in a large cohort of cases with type C (n = 31). Pathological analysis included semi-quantitation of myelin loss of fibres of the corticospinal tract and associated macrophage burden, as well as axonal loss, at the level of the medullary pyramids. We also assessed for motor cortex degeneration and fibre loss of the medial lemniscus/olivocerebellar tract. All cases were subdivided into three groups based on the degree of corticospinal tract degeneration: (i) no corticospinal tract degeneration; (ii) equivocal corticospinal tract degeneration; and (iii) moderate to very severe corticospinal tract degeneration. Clinical, genetic, pathological and imaging comparisons were performed across groups. Eight cases had no corticospinal tract degeneration, and 14 cases had equivocal to mild corticospinal tract degeneration. Nine cases, however, had moderate to very severe corticospinal tract degeneration with myelin and axonal loss. In these nine cases, there was degeneration of the motor cortex without lower motor neuron degeneration or involvement of other brainstem tracts. These cases most commonly presented as semantic dementia, and they had longer disease duration (mean: 15.3 years) compared with the other two groups (10.8 and 9.9 years; P = 0.03). After adjusting for disease duration, severity of corticospinal tract degeneration remained significantly different across groups. Only one case, without corticospinal tract degeneration, was found to have a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene. All three groups were associated with anterior temporal lobe atrophy on MRI; however, the cases with moderate to severe corticospinal tract degeneration showed right-sided temporal lobe asymmetry and greater involvement of the right temporal lobe and superior motor cortices than the other groups. In contrast, the cases with no or equivocal corticospinal tract degeneration were more likely to show left-sided temporal lobe asymmetry. For comparison, the corticospinal tract was assessed in 86 type A and B cases, and only two cases showed evidence of corticospinal tract degeneration without lower motor neuron degeneration. These findings confirm that there exists a unique association between frontotemporal lobar degeneration with type C pathology and corticospinal tract degeneration, with this entity showing a predilection to involve the right temporal lobe.
TDP-43 type C; corticospinal tract; MRI; semantic dementia; right temporal lobe
The appearance of β-amyloidosis and brain injury biomarkers in cognitively normal (CN) persons is thought to define risk for the future development of cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but their interaction is poorly understood.
To test the hypothesis that the joint presence of β-amyloidosis and brain injury biomarkers would lead to more rapid neurodegeneration.
Longitudinal Cohort Study
Population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.
191 CN persons (median age 77, range 71–93) in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who underwent MR, FDG PET and PiB PET imaging at least twice 15 months apart. Subjects were grouped according to the recommendations of the NIA-AA Preclinical AD criteria, based on the presence of β-amyloidosis, defined as a PiB PET SUVr >1.5, alone (Stage 1) or with brain injury (stage 2+3), defined as hippocampal atrophy or FDG hypometabolism. We also studied a group of MCI (n=17) and dementia (n=9) patients from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging or the Mayo Alzheimer Center with similar follow-up times who had had comparable imaging and who all had PiB PET SUVr >1.5.
Main Outcome Measures
Rate of change of cortical volume on volumetric MR scans and rate of change of glucose metabolism on FDG PET scans.
There were 25 CN subjects with both high PiB retention and low hippocampal volume or FDG hypometabolism at baseline (Preclinical AD stages 2+3). On follow-up scans, the Preclinical AD stages 2+3 subjects had greater loss of medial temporal lobe volume and greater glucose hypometabolism in the medial temporal lobe compared to other CN groups. The changes were similar to the cognitively impaired participants. Extra-temporal regions did not show similar changes.
Higher rates of medial temporal neurodegeneration occurred in CN individuals who, on their initial scans, had abnormal levels of both β-amyloid and brain injury biomarkers.
Alzheimer’s disease; PET imaging; MR imaging; Epidemiology
Secondary prevention trials in subjects with preclinical Alzheimer disease may require documentation of brain amyloidosis. The identification of inexpensive and noninvasive screening variables that can identify individuals who have significant amyloid accumulation would reduce screening costs.
A total of 483 cognitively normal (CN) individuals, aged 70–92 years, from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, underwent Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)–PET imaging. Logistic regression determined whether age, sex, APOE genotype, family history, or cognitive performance was associated with odds of a PiB retention ratio >1.4 and >1.5. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) evaluated the discrimination between PiB-positive and -negative subjects. For each characteristic, we determined the number needed to screen in each age group (70–79 and 80–89) to identify 100 participants with PiB >1.4 or >1.5.
A total of 211 (44%) individuals had PiB >1.4 and 151 (31%) >1.5. In univariate and multivariate models, discrimination was modest (AUROC ∼0.6–0.7). Multivariately, age and APOE best predicted odds of PiB >1.4 and >1.5. Subjective memory complaints were similar to cognitive test performance in predicting PiB >1.5. Indicators of PiB positivity varied with age. Screening APOE ε4 carriers alone reduced the number needed to screen to enroll 100 subjects with PIB >1.5 by 48% in persons aged 70–79 and 33% in those aged 80–89.
Age and APOE genotype are useful predictors of the likelihood of significant amyloid accumulation, but discrimination is modest. Nonetheless, these results suggest that inexpensive and noninvasive measures could significantly reduce the number of CN individuals needed to screen to enroll a given number of amyloid-positive subjects.
Atypical variants of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been pathologically defined based on the distribution of neurofibrillary tangles; hippocampal sparing (HpSp) AD shows minimal involvement of the hippocampus and limbic predominant (LP) AD shows neurofibrillary tangles restricted to the medial temporal lobe. We aimed to determine whether MRI patterns of atrophy differ across HpSp AD, LP AD and typical AD, and whether imaging could be a useful predictor of pathological subtype during life.
In this case-control study, we identified 177 patients who had been prospectively followed in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, were demented during life, had AD pathology at autopsy (Braak stage ≥ IV, intermediate-high probability AD) and an antemortem MRI. Cases were assigned to one of three pathological subtypes (HpSp n=19, typical n=125, or LP AD n=33) based on neurofibrillary tangle counts and their ratio in association cortices to hippocampus, without reference to neuronal loss. Voxel-based morphometry and atlas-based parcellation were used to compare patterns of grey matter loss across groups, and to controls.
The severity of medial temporal and cortical grey matter atrophy differed across subtypes. The most severe medial temporal atrophy was observed in LP AD, followed by typical AD, and then HpSp AD. Conversely, the most severe cortical atrophy was observed in HpSp AD, followed by typical AD, and then LP AD. A ratio of hippocampal-to-cortical volume provided the best discrimination across all three AD subtypes. The majority of typical AD (98/125;78%) and LP AD (31/33;94%) subjects, but only 8/19 (42%) of the HpSp AD subjects, presented with a dominant amnestic syndrome.
Patterns of atrophy on MRI differ across the pathological subtypes of AD, suggesting that MR regional volumetrics reliably track the distribution of neurofibrillary tangle pathology and can predict pathological subtype during life.
US National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging)
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common cause of neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our objective was to determine whether the 11C–Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) retention and regional hypometabolism on PET and regional cortical atrophy on MRI are complementary in characterizing patients with DLB and differentiating them from AD. We studied age, gender and education matched patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB (n=21), AD (n=21), and cognitively normal subjects (n=42). Hippocampal atrophy, global cortical PiB retention and occipital lobe metabolism in combination distinguished DLB from AD better than any of the measurements alone (area under the receiver operating characteristic=0.98).Five of the DLB and AD patients who underwent autopsy were distinguished through multimodality imaging. These data demonstrate that MRI and PiB PET contribute to characterizing the distinct pathological mechanisms in patients with AD compared to DLB. Occipital and posterior parietotemporal lobe hypometabolism is a distinguishing feature of DLB and this regional hypometabolic pattern is independent of the amyloid pathology.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; MRI; PET; FDG; PiB; Alzheimer's disease
To determine the association between the focal atrophy measures on antemortem MRI and postmortem neuropathologic classification of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) using the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria.
We retrospectively identified 56 subjects who underwent antemortem MRI and had Lewy body (LB) pathology at autopsy. Subjects were pathologically classified as high (n = 25), intermediate (n = 22), and low likelihood DLB (n = 9) according to the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria. We included 2 additional pathologic comparison groups without LBs: one with low likelihood Alzheimer disease (AD) (control; n = 27) and one with high likelihood AD (n = 33). The associations between MRI-based volumetric measurements and the pathologic classification of DLB were tested with analysis of covariance by adjusting for age, sex, and MRI-to-death interval.
Antemortem hippocampal and amygdalar volumes increased from low to intermediate to high likelihood DLB (p < 0.001, trend test). Smaller hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were associated with higher Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage (p < 0.001). Antemortem dorsal mesopontine gray matter (GM) atrophy was found in those with high likelihood DLB compared with normal control subjects (p = 0.004) and those with AD (p = 0.01). Dorsal mesopontine GM volume decreased from low to intermediate to high likelihood DLB (p = 0.01, trend test).
Antemortem hippocampal and amygdalar volumes increase and dorsal mesopontine GM volumes decrease in patients with low to high likelihood DLB according to the Third Report of the DLB Consortium criteria. Patients with high likelihood DLB typically have normal hippocampal volumes but have atrophy in the dorsal mesopontine GM nuclei.
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used to treat patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Hippocampal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and amyloid-β load on positron emission tomography are associated with the Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. To date, few studies have investigated imaging markers that predict treatment response in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Our objective was to determine whether imaging markers of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology such as hippocampal volume, brain amyloid-β load on 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography predict treatment response to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. We performed a retrospective analysis on consecutive treatment-naive patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (n = 54) from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre who subsequently received acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and underwent magnetic resonance imaging with hippocampal volumetry. Baseline and follow-up assessments were obtained with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. Subjects were divided into three groups (reliable improvement, stable or reliable decline) using Dementia Rating Scale reliable change indices determined previously. Associations between hippocampal volumes and treatment response were tested with analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline Dementia Rating Scale, age, gender, magnetic resonance field strength and Dementia Rating Scale interval. Seven subjects underwent 11C Pittsburgh compound B imaging within 12 weeks of magnetic resonance imaging. Global cortical 11C Pittsburgh compound B retention (scaled to cerebellar retention) was calculated in these patients. Using a conservative psychometric method of assessing treatment response, there were 12 patients with reliable decline, 29 stable cases and 13 patients with reliable improvement. The improvers had significantly larger hippocampi than those that declined (P = 0.02) and the stable (P = 0.04) group. An exploratory analysis demonstrated larger grey matter volumes in the temporal and parietal lobes in improvers compared with those who declined (P < 0.05). The two patients who had a positive 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan declined and those who had a negative 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan improved or were stable after treatment. Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies who do not have the imaging features of coexistent Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology are more likely to cognitively improve with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor treatment.
dementia with Lewy bodies; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; MRI; PiB; PET; amyloid
The association between antemortem [11C]-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) retention and β-amyloid (Aβ) load, Lewy body (LB) and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) densities were investigated in a pathologically confirmed case of dementia with LB (DLB). 76-year-old man presenting with a clinical diagnosis of DLB had undergone PiB–positron emission tomography (PET), 18F FDG-PET and MRI 18 months before death. The pathologic diagnosis was DLB neocortical-type with low-likelihood of Alzheimer's disease by NIA-Reagan criteria. Sections from regions of interest (ROI) on post-mortem examination were studied. A significant correlation was found between cortical Aβ density and PiB retention in the 17 corresponding ROIs (r=0.899; p<0.0001). Bielschowsky silver stain revealed mostly sparse neocortical neuritic plaques; whereas diffuse plaques were frequent. There was no correlation between LB density and PiB retention (r=0.13; p=0.66); nor between NFT density and PiB retention (r=−0.36; p=0.17). The ROI-based analysis of imaging and histopathological data confirms that PiB uptake on PET is a specific marker for Aβ density, but cannot differentiate neuritic from diffuse amyloid plaques in this case with DLB.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; amyloid imaging; PET; pathology; amyloid
To characterize the shape of the trajectories of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) biomarkers as a function of MMSE.
Longitudinal registries from the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
Two different samples (n=343 and n=598) were created that spanned the cognitive spectrum from normal to AD dementia. Subgroup analyses were performed in members of both cohorts (n=243 and n=328) who were amyloid positive at baseline.
Main Outcome Measures
The shape of biomarker trajectories as a function of MMSE, adjusted for age, was modeled and described as baseline (cross-sectional) and within-subject longitudinal effects. Biomarkers evaluated were cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and tau; amyloid and fluoro deoxyglucose position emission tomography (PET) imaging, and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Baseline biomarker values generally worsened (i.e., non-zero slope) with lower baseline MMSE. Baseline hippocampal volume, amyloid PET and FDG PET values plateaued (i.e., non-linear slope) with lower MMSE in one or more analyses. Longitudinally, within-subject rates of biomarker change were associated with worsening MMSE. Non-constant within-subject rates (deceleration) of biomarker change were found in only one model.
Biomarker trajectory shapes by MMSE were complex and were affected by interactions with age and APOE status. Non-linearity was found in several baseline effects models. Non-constant within-subject rates of biomarker change were found in only one model, likely due to limited within-subject longitudinal follow up. Creating reliable models that describe the full trajectories of AD biomarkers will require significant additional longitudinal data in individual participants.
Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; cerebro spinal fluid; amyloid PET imaging; FDG PET imaging
A workgroup commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) recently published research criteria for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We performed a preliminary assessment of these guidelines.
We employed Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PET) imaging as our biomarker of cerebral amyloidosis and 18fluorodeoxyglucose PET imaging and hippocampal volume as biomarkers of neurodegeneration. A group of 42 clinically diagnosed AD subjects was used to create imaging biomarker cut-points. A group of 450 cognitively normal (CN) subjects from a population based sample was used to develop cognitive cut-points and to assess population frequencies of the different preclinical AD stages using different cut-point criteria.
The new criteria subdivide the preclinical phase of AD into stages 1–3. To classify our CN subjects, two additional categories were needed. Stage 0 denotes subjects with normal AD biomarkers and no evidence of subtle cognitive impairment. Suspected Non-AD Pathophysiology (SNAP) denotes subjects with normal amyloid PET imaging, but abnormal neurodegeneration biomarker studies. At fixed cut-points corresponding to 90% sensitivity for diagnosing AD and the 10th percentile of CN cognitive scores, 43% of our sample was classified as stage 0; 16% stage 1; 12 % stage 2; 3% stage 3; and 23% SNAP.
This cross-sectional evaluation of the NIA-AA criteria for preclinical AD indicates that the 1–3 staging criteria coupled with stage 0 and SNAP categories classify 97% of CN subjects from a population-based sample, leaving just 3% unclassified. Future longitudinal validation of the criteria will be important.
The objective of our study was to evaluate whether cognitively normal (CN) elderly participants showing elevated cortical beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition have a consistent neuroanatomical signature of brain atrophy that may characterize preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD). 115 CN participants who were Aβ-positive (CN +) by amyloid PET imaging; 115 CN participants who were Aβ-negative (CN −); and 88 Aβ-positive mild cognitive impairment or AD participants (MCI/AD +) were identified. Cortical thickness (FreeSurfer) and gray matter volume (SPM5) were measured for 28 regions-of-interest (ROIs) across the brain and compared across groups. ROIs that best discriminated CN − from CN + differed for FreeSurfer cortical thickness and SPM5 gray matter volume. Group-wise discrimination was poor with a high degree of uncertainty in terms of the rank ordering of ROIs. In contrast, both techniques showed strong and consistent findings comparing MCI/AD + to both CN − and CN + groups, with entorhinal cortex, middle and inferior temporal lobe, inferior parietal lobe, and hippocampus providing the best discrimination for both techniques. Concordance across techniques was higher for the CN − and CN + versus MCI/AD + comparisons, compared to the CN − versus CN + comparison. The weak and inconsistent nature of the findings across technique in this study cast doubt on the existence of a reliable neuroanatomical signature of preclinical AD in elderly PiB-positive CN participants.
► We measured atrophy in cognitively normal subjects with amyloid deposition (CN +). ► Findings in CN + subjects were weak and disconcordant across Freesurfer and SPM5. ► Concordance across techniques was higher when assessing Alzheimer disease subjects. ► Evidence for a neuroanatomical signature of preclinical AD in CN + subjects is weak.
Amyloid; Preclinical; Alzheimer's disease; Freesurfer; Voxel-based morphometry; Cognitively normal