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Alzheimers Dement. 2017 Nov;13(11):1261-1269. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2017.02.011. Epub 2017 Mar 30.

Tau and amyloid β proteins distinctively associate to functional network changes in the aging brain.

Author information

1
Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA. Electronic address: sepulcre@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA.
3
Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Misfolded tau and amyloid β (Aβ) proteins progressively accumulate in the human brain, causing altered neuronal function and neurodegeneration. This study sought to investigate whether the wide spectrum of functional reorganization in aging brains of cognitively normal individuals relates to specific pathological patterns of tau and Aβ deposits.

METHODS:

We used functional connectivity neuroimaging and in vivo tau and Aβ positron emission tomography scans to study cortical spatial relationships between imaging modalities.

RESULTS:

We found that a negative association between tau and functional connectivity combined with a positive association between Aβ and functional connectivity is the most frequent cortical pattern among elderly subjects. Moreover, we found specific brain areas that interrelate hypoconnectivity and hyperconnectivity regions.

DISCUSSION:

Our findings have critical implications to understanding how the two main elements of Alzheimer's disease-related pathology affect the aging brain and how they cause alterations in large-scale neuronal circuits.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid; Brain functional network; PET; Tau

PMID:
28366797
PMCID:
PMC5623176
DOI:
10.1016/j.jalz.2017.02.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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