Objective: Both amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition and brain atrophy are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the disease process likely begins many years before symptoms appear. We sought to determine whether clinically normal (CN) older individuals with Aβ deposition revealed by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) also have evidence of both cortical thickness and hippocampal volume reductions in a pattern similar to that seen in AD.
Methods: A total of 119 older individuals (87 CN subjects and 32 patients with mild AD) underwent PiB PET and high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Regression models were used to relate PiB retention to cortical thickness and hippocampal volume.
Results: We found that PiB retention in CN subjects was (1) age-related and (2) associated with cortical thickness reductions, particularly in parietal and posterior cingulate regions extending into the precuneus, in a pattern similar to that observed in mild AD. Hippocampal volume reduction was variably related to Aβ deposition.
Interpretation: We conclude that Aβ deposition is associated with a pattern of cortical thickness reduction consistent with AD prior to the development of cognitive impairment.
Copyright © 2010 American Neurological Association.