Sex and age interact to determine clinicopathologic differences in Alzheimer’s disease

Amanda M. Liesinger, Neill R. Graff-Radford, Ranjan Duara, Rickey E. Carter, Fadi S. Hanna Al-Shaikh, Shunsuke Koga, Kelly M. Hinkle, Sarah K. DiLello, McKenna K.F. Johnson, Adel Aziz, Nilufer Ertekin-Taner, Owen A. Ross, Dennis W. Dickson, Melissa E. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Women reportedly make up two-thirds of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia sufferers. Many estimates regarding AD, however, are based on clinical series lacking autopsy confirmation. The Florida Autopsied Multi-Ethnic (FLAME) cohort was queried for AD cases with a total of 1625 identified ranging in age from 53 to 102 years at death. Standard neuropathologic procedures were employed and clinical information was retrospectively collected. Clinicopathologic and genetic data (MAPT and APOE) were stratified by sex. Within the neuropathologically diagnosed AD cohort, the overall number of women and men did not differ. Men were younger at onset of cognitive symptoms, had a shorter disease duration, and more often had atypical (non-amnestic) clinical presentations. The frequency of autopsy-confirmed AD among women and men stratified by age at death revealed an inverse U-shaped curve in men and a U-shaped curve in women, with both curves having inflections at approximately 70 years of age. Regional counts of neurofibrillary tangles differed in women and men, especially when examined by age intervals. Women had overall greater severity of neurofibrillary tangle counts compared to men, especially in the hippocampus. Men were more often classified as hippocampal sparing AD, whereas limbic predominant AD was more common in women. Men and women did not differ in frequency of MAPT haplotype or APOE genotype. Atypical clinical presentations, younger age at onset and shorter disease duration were more frequent in men, suggesting that the lower reported frequency of AD in men may be due to more frequent atypical clinical presentations not recognized as AD. Our data suggest that neuropathologically diagnosed AD cases have the same frequency of women and men, but their clinical presentations and ages at onset tend to differ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-885
Number of pages13
JournalActa neuropathologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Age
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Atypical
  • Autopsy
  • Gender
  • Late onset
  • Neurofibrillary tangle
  • Neuropathology
  • Plaques
  • Postmortem
  • Sex
  • Young onset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex and age interact to determine clinicopathologic differences in Alzheimer’s disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this