Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers are Differentially Related to Structural and Functional Changes in Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type

Charles B. Malpas, Michael M. Saling, Dennis Velakoulis, Patricia Desmond, Rodney J. Hicks, Henrik Zetterberg, Kaj Blennow, Terence J. O'Brien

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The two cardinal pathologies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) develop according to distinct anatomical trajectories. Cerebral tau-related pathology first accumulates in the mesial temporal region, while amyloid-related pathology first appears in neocortex. The eventual distributions of these pathologies reflect their anatomical origins. An implication is that the cardinal pathologies might exert preferential effects on the structurofunctional brain changes observed in AD. We investigated this hypothesis in 39 patients with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Interrelationships were analyzed between cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of the cardinal pathologies, volumetric brain changes using magnetic resonance imaging, and brain metabolism using [18F]-FDG-PET. Amyloid-related pathology was preferentially associated with structurofunctional changes in the precuneus and lateral temporal regions. Tau-related pathology was not associated with changes in these regions. These findings support the hypothesis that tau-and amyloid-pathology exert differential effects on structurofunctional changes in the AD brain. These findings have implications for future therapeutic trials and hint at a more complex relationship between the cardinal pathologies and disruption of brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloidβ
  • cerebral glucose uptake
  • cerebrospinal fluid
  • cortical thickness
  • P-tau

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