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Neurobiol Aging. 2018 Jan;61:207-214. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.09.027. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Cortical β-amyloid burden, gray matter, and memory in adults at varying APOE ε4 risk for Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
2
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
3
Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, Geriatrics Section, and the Program on Aging, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
5
Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address: christopher.vandyck@yale.edu.

Abstract

Models of preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) propose that cerebral amyloidosis leads to neurodegeneration and subsequent cognitive decline. This study investigated whether APOE genotype is related to β-amyloid (Aβ) burden in brain regions preferentially affected by AD and whether Aβ burden is associated with gray-matter (GM) fraction (as a marker of neurodegeneration) and episodic memory performance in cognitively normal middle-aged individuals at varying genetic risk for AD. Three groups of cognitively normal participants aged 50-65 years with a first-degree family history of AD (APOE genotype ε4ε4 [n = 15], ε3ε4 [n = 15], and ε3ε3 [n = 15]) underwent [11C]PiB positron emission tomography scans to quantify cortical Aβ, brain magnetic resonance imaging, and neuropsychological testing. APOE ε4ε4 participants demonstrated significantly higher cortical Aβ burden than APOE ε3ε3 (p < 0.001). Furthermore, cortical Aβ burden was inversely associated with cortical GM fraction (p = 0.017) but not episodic memory performance. In cognitively normal, middle-aged individuals, Aβ burden is significantly associated with GM fraction but not episodic memory performance. These findings are consistent with models of preclinical AD in which neurodegeneration occurs before manifest cognitive decline.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid-β; Apolipoprotein E; PET; Preclinical Alzheimer's disease; [(11)C]PiB

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