Regional tau pathology and loneliness in cognitively normal older adults.
ABSTRACT: Loneliness is a perception of social and emotional isolation that increases in prevalence among older adults during the eighth decade of life. Loneliness has been associated with higher brain amyloid-β deposition, a biologic marker of Alzheimer's disease, in cognitively normal older adults, suggesting a link with preclinical Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. This study examined whether greater loneliness was associated with tau pathology, the other defining feature of Alzheimer's disease, in 117 cognitively normal older adults. Using flortaucipir positron emission tomography, we measured tau pathology in the entorhinal cortex, a region of initial accumulation in aging adults with or without elevated amyloid-β, and in the inferior temporal cortex, a region of early accumulation typically associated with elevated amyloid-β and memory impairment. Loneliness was measured by self-report using the 3-item UCLA-loneliness scale. We found that higher tau pathology in the right entorhinal cortex was associated with greater loneliness, controlling for age, sex, and apolipoprotein E ε4, the Alzheimer's disease genetic risk marker. This association remained significant after further adjustment for socioeconomic status, social network, depression and anxiety scores, and memory performance. There was no association of inferior temporal cortical or left entorhinal tau pathology with loneliness. Exploratory whole-brain surface maps supported these findings and identified additional clusters correlating loneliness and tau in the right fusiform gyrus. These results provide further support for loneliness as a socioemotional symptom in preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate whether higher global left frontal cortex (gLFC) connectivity, a putative neural substrate of cognitive reserve, attenuates the effect of entorhinal tau PET levels on episodic memory in older adults. METHODS:Cross-sectional 18F-AV-1451 PET (to assess tau pathology), 18F-AV-45 or 18F-BAY94-9172 PET (to assess ?-amyloid [A?]), and resting-state fMRI were obtained in 125 elderly participants from the Alzheimer's Neuroimaging Initiative, including 82 cognitively normal participants (amyloid PET-positive [A?+], n = 27) and 43 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (A?+ = 15). Resting-state fMRI gLFC connectivity was computed for each participant as the average functional connectivity between the left frontal cortex (LFC) (seed) and each remaining voxel in the gray matter. As a measure of tau pathology, we assessed the mean tau PET uptake in the entorhinal cortex. In linear mixed-effects regression analysis, we tested the interaction term gLFC connectivity × entorhinal tau PET on delayed free recall performance. In addition, we assessed whether higher connectivity of the whole frontoparietal control network (FPCN), of which the LFC is a major hub, is associated with reserve. RESULTS:Higher entorhinal tau PET was strongly associated with poorer delayed free recall performance (?/SE = -0.49/0.07, p < 0.001). A significant gLFC connectivity × entorhinal tau PET interaction was found (?/SE = 0.19/0.06, p = 0.003), such that at higher levels of gLFC connectivity, the decrease in memory score per unit of entorhinal tau PET was attenuated. The FPCN connectivity × tau interaction was also significant (?/SE = 0.10/0.04, p = 0.012). CONCLUSION:Both gLFC and FPCN connectivity are associated with higher resilience against the adverse effect of early-stage entorhinal tau pathology on memory performance.
Project description:There is considerable debate whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) originates in basal forebrain or entorhinal cortex. Here we examined whether longitudinal decreases in basal forebrain and entorhinal cortex grey matter volume were interdependent and sequential. In a large cohort of age-matched older adults ranging from cognitively normal to AD, we demonstrate that basal forebrain volume predicts longitudinal entorhinal degeneration. Models of parallel degeneration or entorhinal origin received negligible support. We then integrated volumetric measures with an amyloid biomarker sensitive to pre-symptomatic AD pathology. Comparison between cognitively matched normal adult subgroups, delineated according to the amyloid biomarker, revealed abnormal degeneration in basal forebrain, but not entorhinal cortex. Abnormal degeneration in both basal forebrain and entorhinal cortex was only observed among prodromal (mildly amnestic) individuals. We provide evidence that basal forebrain pathology precedes and predicts both entorhinal pathology and memory impairment, challenging the widely held belief that AD has a cortical origin.
Project description:The objective of this study was to examine the distribution and severity of tau-PET binding in cognitively normal adults with preclinical Alzheimer's disease as determined by positive beta-amyloid PET. 18F-AV-1451 tau-PET data from 109 cognitively normal older adults were processed with 34 cortical and 9 subcortical FreeSurfer regions and averaged across both hemispheres. Individuals were classified as being beta-amyloid positive (N = 25, A+) or negative (N = 84, A-) based on a 18F-AV-45 beta-amyloid-PET standardized uptake value ratio of 1.22. We compared the tau-PET binding in the 2 groups using covariate-adjusted linear regressions. The A+ cohort had higher tau-PET binding within 8 regions: precuneus, amygdala, banks of the superior temporal sulcus, entorhinal cortex, fusiform gyrus, inferior parietal cortex, inferior temporal cortex, and middle temporal cortex. These findings, consistent with preclinical involvement of the medial temporal lobe and parietal lobe and association regions by tauopathy, emphasize that therapies targeting tauopathy in Alzheimer's disease could be considered before the onset of symptoms to prevent or ameliorate cognitive decline.
Project description:Tau pathology first appears in the transentorhinal and anterolateral entorhinal cortex (alEC) in the aging brain. The transition to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is hypothesized to involve amyloid-? (A?) facilitated tau spread through neural connections. We contrasted functional connectivity (FC) of alEC and posteromedial EC (pmEC), subregions of EC that differ in functional specialization and cortical connectivity, with the hypothesis that alEC-connected cortex would show greater tau deposition than pmEC-connected cortex. We used resting state fMRI to measure FC, and PET to measure tau and A? in cognitively normal older adults. Tau preferentially deposited in alEC-connected cortex compared to pmEC-connected or non-connected cortex, and stronger connectivity was associated with increased tau deposition. FC-tau relationships were present regardless of A?, although strengthened with A?. These results provide an explanation for the anatomic specificity of neocortical tau deposition in the aging brain and reveal relationships between normal aging and the evolution of AD.
Project description:The relationship between neurodegeneration and the 2 hallmark proteins of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid-? (A?) and tau, is still unclear. Here, we examined 286 nondemented participants (107 cognitively normal older adults and 179 memory impaired individuals) who underwent longitudinal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and lumbar puncture. Using mixed effects models, we investigated the relationship between longitudinal entorhinal cortex atrophy rate, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) p-tau(181p) and CSF A?(1-42) . We found a significant relationship between elevated entorhinal cortex atrophy rate and decreased CSF A?(1-42) only with elevated CSF p-tau(181p) . Our findings indicate that A?-associated volume loss occurs only in the presence of phospho-tau in humans at risk for dementia.
Project description:Introduction:Tau pathology, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, is observed in the brains of virtually all individuals over 70 years. Methods:Using 18F-AV-1451 (18F-flortaucipir) positron emission tomography, we evaluated tau pathology in 54 cognitively normal participants (mean age: 77.5 years, SD: 8.9) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. We assessed associations between positron emission tomography signal and age, sex, race, and amyloid positivity. We investigated relationships between regional signal and retrospective rates of change in regional volumes and cognitive function adjusting for age, sex, and amyloid status. Results:Greater age, male sex, black race, and amyloid positivity were associated with higher 18F-AV-1451 retention in distinct brain regions. Retention in the entorhinal cortex was associated with lower entorhinal volume (? = -1.124, SE = 0.485, P = .025) and a steeper decline in memory performance (? = -0.086, SE = 0.039, P = .029). Discussion:Assessment of medial temporal tau pathology will provide insights into early structural brain changes associated with later cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Human episodic memory critically depends on subregions of the medial temporal lobe, which are part of functional brain systems such as the anterior-temporal and the posterior-medial system. Here we analysed how Alzheimer's pathology affects functional connectivity within these systems. Data from 256 amyloid-?-negative cognitively unimpaired, 103 amyloid-?-positive cognitively unimpaired, and 83 amyloid-?-positive individuals with mild cognitive impairment were analysed. Amyloid-? and tau pathology were measured using the CSF amyloid-?42/40 ratio and phosphorylated tau, respectively. We found that amyloid-?-positive cognitively unimpaired individuals were mainly characterized by decreased functional connectivity between the medial temporal lobe and regions in the anterior-temporal system, most prominently between left perirhinal/entorhinal cortices and medial prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, correlation analysis in this group revealed decreasing functional connectivity between bilateral perirhinal/entorhinal cortices, anterior hippocampus and posterior-medial regions with increasing levels of phosphorylated tau. The amyloid-?-positive individuals with mild cognitive impairment mostly exhibited reduced connectivity between the medial temporal lobe and posterior-medial regions, predominantly between the anterior hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex. In addition, they showed hyperconnectivity within the medial temporal lobe and its immediate proximity. Lower medial temporal-cortical functional connectivity networks resulting from the group comparisons of cognitively unimpaired individuals were associated with reduced memory performance and more rapid longitudinal memory decline as shown by linear mixed-effects regression analysis. Finally, we found that reduced medial temporal-cortical connectivity in mildly cognitively impaired individuals was related to reduced entorhinal thickness and white matter integrity of the parahippocampal cingulum and the fornix. No such relationships were found in cognitively unimpaired individuals. In conclusion, our findings show that the earliest changes in preclinical Alzheimer's disease might involve decreased connectivity within the anterior-temporal system, and early changes in connectivity might be related to memory impairment, but not to structural changes. With disease progression and increased tau pathology, medial temporal functional connectivity with posterior-medial regions seems to be increasingly impaired. In individuals with mild cognitive impairment, reduced functional connectivity is associated with structural brain changes as well as the emergence of locally increased connectivity patterns. Thus, functional connectivity between the medial temporal lobe and the anterior-temporal and posterior-medial system could serve as stage-specific functional markers in early Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:The ability to accurately judge memory efficiency (meta-memory monitoring) for newly learned (episodic) information, is decreased in older adults and even worse in Alzheimer's disease (AD), whereas no differences have been found for semantic meta-memory. The pathological substrates of this phenomenon are poorly understood. Here, we examine the association between meta-memory monitoring for episodic and semantic information to the two major proteinopathies in AD: amyloid (A?) and tau pathology in a group of cognitively unimpaired older adults. All participants underwent multi-tracer PET and meta-memory monitoring was assessed using a feeling-of-knowing (FOK) task for non-famous (episodic) and famous (semantic) face-name pairs. Whole brain voxel-wise correlations between meta-memory and PET data were conducted (controlling for memory), as well as confirmatory region-of-interest analyses. Participants had reduced episodic FOK compared to semantic FOK. Decreased episodic FOK was related to tauopathy in the medial temporal lobe regions, including the entorhinal cortex and temporal pole, whereas decreased semantic FOK was related to increased tau in regions associated with the semantic knowledge network. No association was found with A?-pathology. Alterations in the ability to accurately judge memory efficiency (in the absence of memory decline) may be a sensitive clinical indicator of AD pathophysiology in the pre-symptomatic phase.
Project description:Animal models of Alzheimer's disease have suggested that tau pathology propagation, facilitated by amyloid pathology, may occur along connected pathways. To investigate these ideas in humans, we combined amyloid scans with longitudinal data on white matter connectivity, hippocampal volume, tau positron emission tomography and memory performance in 256 cognitively healthy older individuals. Lower baseline hippocampal volume was associated with increased mean diffusivity of the connecting hippocampal cingulum bundle (HCB). HCB diffusivity predicted tau accumulation in the downstream-connected posterior cingulate cortex in amyloid-positive but not in amyloid-negative individuals. Furthermore, HCB diffusivity predicted memory decline in amyloid-positive individuals with high posterior cingulate cortex tau binding. Our results provide in vivo evidence that higher amyloid pathology strengthens the association between HCB diffusivity and tau accumulation in the downstream posterior cingulate cortex and facilitates memory decline. This confirms amyloid's crucial role in potentiating neural vulnerability and memory decline marking the onset of preclinical Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Genetic, clinical, histopathological and biomarker data strongly support Beta-amyloid (A?) induced spreading of Tau-pathology beyond entorhinal cortex (EC), as a crucial process in conversion from preclinical cognitively normal to Alzheimer's Disease (AD), while the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In vivo preclinical models have reproducibly recapitulated A?-induced Tau-pathology. Tau pathology was thereby also induced by aggregated A?, in functionally connected brain areas, reminiscent of a prion-like seeding process. In this work we demonstrate, that pre-aggregated A? can directly induce Tau fibrillization by cross-seeding, in a cell-free assay, comparable to that demonstrated before for alpha-synuclein and Tau. We furthermore demonstrate, in a well-characterized cellular Tau-aggregation assay that A?-seeds cross-seeded Tau-pathology and strongly catalyzed pre-existing Tau-aggregation, reminiscent of the pathogenetic process in AD. Finally, we demonstrate that heterotypic seeded Tau by pre-aggregated A? provides efficient seeds for induction and propagation of Tau-pathology in vivo. Prion-like, heterotypic seeding of Tau fibrillization by A?, providing potent seeds for propagating Tau pathology in vivo, as demonstrated here, provides a compelling molecular mechanism for A?-induced propagation of Tau-pathology, beyond regions with pre-existing Tau-pathology (entorhinal cortex/locus coeruleus). Cross-seeding along functional connections could thereby resolve the initial spatial dissociation between amyloid- and Tau-pathology, and preferential propagation of Tau-pathology in regions with pre-existing 'silent' Tau-pathology, by conversion of a 'silent' Tau pathology to a 'spreading' Tau-pathology, observed in AD.