Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
Centre for Precision Health
Background: In Alzheimer's disease, heterogeneity has been observed in the postmortem distribution of tau neurofibrillary tangles. Visualizing the topography of tau in vivo may facilitate clinical trials and clinical practice. Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether tau distribution patterns that are limited to mesial temporal lobe (MTL)/limbic regions, and those that spare MTL regions, can be visually identified using 18F-MK6240, and whether these patterns are associated with different demographic and cognitive profiles. Methods : Tau 18F-MK6240 PET images of 151 amyloid-β positive participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia were visually rated as: tau negative, limbic predominant (LP), MTL-sparing, and Typical by two readers. Groups were evaluated for differences in age, APOE ɛ4 carriage, hippocampal volumes, and cognition (MMSE, composite memory and non-memory scores). Voxel-wise contrasts were also performed. Results: Visual rating resulted in 59.6 % classified as Typical, 17.9 % as MTL-sparing, 9.9 % LP, and 12.6% as tau negative. Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability was strong (Cohen's kappa values of 0.89 and 0.86 respectively). Tracer retention in a "hook"-like distribution on sagittal sequences was observed in the LP and Typical groups. The visually classified MTL-sparing group had lower APOE ɛ4 carriage and relatively preserved hippocampal volumes. Higher MTL tau was associated with greater amnestic cognitive impairment. High crtical tau was associated with greater impairments on non-memory domains of cognition, and individuals with high cortical tau were more likely to have dementia than MCI. Conclusion: Tau distribution patterns can be visually identified using 18F-MK6240 PET and are associated with differences in APOE ɛ4 carriage, hippocampal volumes, and cognition.
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