Widespread brain tau and its association with ageing, Braak stage and Alzheimer’s dementia

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Abstract

Autopsy data have proposed that a topographical pattern of tauopathy occurs in the brain with the development of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. We evaluated the findings of tau-PET to better understand neurofibrillary tangle development as it is seen in cognitively unimpaired and impaired individuals. The evolution of Alzheimer’s disease tauopathy in cognitively unimpaired individuals needs to be examined to better understand disease pathogenesis. Tau-PET was performed in 86 cognitively impaired individuals who all had abnormal amyloid levels and 601 cognitively unimpaired individuals. Tau-PET findings were assessed for relationships with clinical diagnosis, age, and regional uptake patterns relative to Braak stage. Regional and voxel-wise analyses were performed. Topographical findings from tau-PET were characterized using hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based subcategorization. In older cognitively unimpaired individuals (550 years), widespread, age-related elevated tau signal was seen among those with normal or abnormal amyloid status as compared to younger cognitively unimpaired individuals (30–49 years). More frequent regional tau signal elevation throughout the brain was seen in cognitively unimpaired individuals with abnormal versus normal amyloid. Elevated tau signal was seen in regions that are considered high Braak Stage in cognitively unimpaired and cognitively impaired individuals. Hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based categorizations both showed different patterns of tau signal between groups such as greater tau signal in frontal regions in younger onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia participants (most of whom had a dysexecutive clinical presentation). Tau-PET signal increases modestly with age throughout the brain in cognitively unimpaired individuals and elevated tau is seen more often when amyloid brain accumulation is present. Tau signal patterns in cognitively unimpaired correspond to early Braak stage but also suggest tangle involvement in extra-medial temporal and extra-temporal regions that are considered more advanced in the Braak scheme even when amyloid negative. Our findings also suggest the possibility of widespread development of early tangle pathology rather than a pattern defined exclusively by adjacent, region-to-region spread, prior to onset of clinical symptoms. Distinct patterns of neurofibrillary tangle deposition in younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia versus older-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia provide evidence for variability in regional tangle deposition patterns and demonstrate that different disease phenotypes have different patterns of tauopathy. Pathological correlation with imaging is needed to assess the implications of these observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalBrain
Volume141
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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Alzheimer Disease
Amyloid
Brain
Tauopathies
Neurofibrillary Tangles
Cluster Analysis
Temporal Lobe
Dementia
Autopsy
Pathology
Phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

@article{452e319766e744e5a542c11affac537e,
title = "Widespread brain tau and its association with ageing, Braak stage and Alzheimer’s dementia",
abstract = "Autopsy data have proposed that a topographical pattern of tauopathy occurs in the brain with the development of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. We evaluated the findings of tau-PET to better understand neurofibrillary tangle development as it is seen in cognitively unimpaired and impaired individuals. The evolution of Alzheimer’s disease tauopathy in cognitively unimpaired individuals needs to be examined to better understand disease pathogenesis. Tau-PET was performed in 86 cognitively impaired individuals who all had abnormal amyloid levels and 601 cognitively unimpaired individuals. Tau-PET findings were assessed for relationships with clinical diagnosis, age, and regional uptake patterns relative to Braak stage. Regional and voxel-wise analyses were performed. Topographical findings from tau-PET were characterized using hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based subcategorization. In older cognitively unimpaired individuals (550 years), widespread, age-related elevated tau signal was seen among those with normal or abnormal amyloid status as compared to younger cognitively unimpaired individuals (30–49 years). More frequent regional tau signal elevation throughout the brain was seen in cognitively unimpaired individuals with abnormal versus normal amyloid. Elevated tau signal was seen in regions that are considered high Braak Stage in cognitively unimpaired and cognitively impaired individuals. Hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based categorizations both showed different patterns of tau signal between groups such as greater tau signal in frontal regions in younger onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia participants (most of whom had a dysexecutive clinical presentation). Tau-PET signal increases modestly with age throughout the brain in cognitively unimpaired individuals and elevated tau is seen more often when amyloid brain accumulation is present. Tau signal patterns in cognitively unimpaired correspond to early Braak stage but also suggest tangle involvement in extra-medial temporal and extra-temporal regions that are considered more advanced in the Braak scheme even when amyloid negative. Our findings also suggest the possibility of widespread development of early tangle pathology rather than a pattern defined exclusively by adjacent, region-to-region spread, prior to onset of clinical symptoms. Distinct patterns of neurofibrillary tangle deposition in younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia versus older-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia provide evidence for variability in regional tangle deposition patterns and demonstrate that different disease phenotypes have different patterns of tauopathy. Pathological correlation with imaging is needed to assess the implications of these observations.",
author = "Val Lowe and Wiste, {Heather J.} and Senjem, {Matthew L.} and Weigand, {Stephen D.} and Therneau, {Terry M} and Boeve, {Bradley F} and Josephs, {Keith Anthony} and Ping Fang and Mukesh Pandey and Murray, {Melissa E} and Kantarci, {Kejal M} and Jones, {David T} and Vemuri, {Prashanthi D} and Jonathan Graff-Radford and Christopher Schwarz and Machulda, {Mary Margaret} and Mielke, {Michelle M} and Roberts, {Rosebud O} and Knopman, {David S} and Petersen, {Ronald Carl} and Jack, {Clifford R Jr.}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/brain/awx320",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "141",
pages = "271--287",
journal = "Brain",
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T1 - Widespread brain tau and its association with ageing, Braak stage and Alzheimer’s dementia

AU - Lowe, Val

AU - Wiste, Heather J.

AU - Senjem, Matthew L.

AU - Weigand, Stephen D.

AU - Therneau, Terry M

AU - Boeve, Bradley F

AU - Josephs, Keith Anthony

AU - Fang, Ping

AU - Pandey, Mukesh

AU - Murray, Melissa E

AU - Kantarci, Kejal M

AU - Jones, David T

AU - Vemuri, Prashanthi D

AU - Graff-Radford, Jonathan

AU - Schwarz, Christopher

AU - Machulda, Mary Margaret

AU - Mielke, Michelle M

AU - Roberts, Rosebud O

AU - Knopman, David S

AU - Petersen, Ronald Carl

AU - Jack, Clifford R Jr.

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Autopsy data have proposed that a topographical pattern of tauopathy occurs in the brain with the development of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. We evaluated the findings of tau-PET to better understand neurofibrillary tangle development as it is seen in cognitively unimpaired and impaired individuals. The evolution of Alzheimer’s disease tauopathy in cognitively unimpaired individuals needs to be examined to better understand disease pathogenesis. Tau-PET was performed in 86 cognitively impaired individuals who all had abnormal amyloid levels and 601 cognitively unimpaired individuals. Tau-PET findings were assessed for relationships with clinical diagnosis, age, and regional uptake patterns relative to Braak stage. Regional and voxel-wise analyses were performed. Topographical findings from tau-PET were characterized using hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based subcategorization. In older cognitively unimpaired individuals (550 years), widespread, age-related elevated tau signal was seen among those with normal or abnormal amyloid status as compared to younger cognitively unimpaired individuals (30–49 years). More frequent regional tau signal elevation throughout the brain was seen in cognitively unimpaired individuals with abnormal versus normal amyloid. Elevated tau signal was seen in regions that are considered high Braak Stage in cognitively unimpaired and cognitively impaired individuals. Hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based categorizations both showed different patterns of tau signal between groups such as greater tau signal in frontal regions in younger onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia participants (most of whom had a dysexecutive clinical presentation). Tau-PET signal increases modestly with age throughout the brain in cognitively unimpaired individuals and elevated tau is seen more often when amyloid brain accumulation is present. Tau signal patterns in cognitively unimpaired correspond to early Braak stage but also suggest tangle involvement in extra-medial temporal and extra-temporal regions that are considered more advanced in the Braak scheme even when amyloid negative. Our findings also suggest the possibility of widespread development of early tangle pathology rather than a pattern defined exclusively by adjacent, region-to-region spread, prior to onset of clinical symptoms. Distinct patterns of neurofibrillary tangle deposition in younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia versus older-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia provide evidence for variability in regional tangle deposition patterns and demonstrate that different disease phenotypes have different patterns of tauopathy. Pathological correlation with imaging is needed to assess the implications of these observations.

AB - Autopsy data have proposed that a topographical pattern of tauopathy occurs in the brain with the development of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. We evaluated the findings of tau-PET to better understand neurofibrillary tangle development as it is seen in cognitively unimpaired and impaired individuals. The evolution of Alzheimer’s disease tauopathy in cognitively unimpaired individuals needs to be examined to better understand disease pathogenesis. Tau-PET was performed in 86 cognitively impaired individuals who all had abnormal amyloid levels and 601 cognitively unimpaired individuals. Tau-PET findings were assessed for relationships with clinical diagnosis, age, and regional uptake patterns relative to Braak stage. Regional and voxel-wise analyses were performed. Topographical findings from tau-PET were characterized using hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based subcategorization. In older cognitively unimpaired individuals (550 years), widespread, age-related elevated tau signal was seen among those with normal or abnormal amyloid status as compared to younger cognitively unimpaired individuals (30–49 years). More frequent regional tau signal elevation throughout the brain was seen in cognitively unimpaired individuals with abnormal versus normal amyloid. Elevated tau signal was seen in regions that are considered high Braak Stage in cognitively unimpaired and cognitively impaired individuals. Hierarchical clustering and clinical characteristic-based categorizations both showed different patterns of tau signal between groups such as greater tau signal in frontal regions in younger onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia participants (most of whom had a dysexecutive clinical presentation). Tau-PET signal increases modestly with age throughout the brain in cognitively unimpaired individuals and elevated tau is seen more often when amyloid brain accumulation is present. Tau signal patterns in cognitively unimpaired correspond to early Braak stage but also suggest tangle involvement in extra-medial temporal and extra-temporal regions that are considered more advanced in the Braak scheme even when amyloid negative. Our findings also suggest the possibility of widespread development of early tangle pathology rather than a pattern defined exclusively by adjacent, region-to-region spread, prior to onset of clinical symptoms. Distinct patterns of neurofibrillary tangle deposition in younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia versus older-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia provide evidence for variability in regional tangle deposition patterns and demonstrate that different disease phenotypes have different patterns of tauopathy. Pathological correlation with imaging is needed to assess the implications of these observations.

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