Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is associated with the abnormal accumulation of amyloid-β. Much is known about regional brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease, yet our knowledge about the network nature of Alzheimer's disease-associated amyloid-β accumulation is limited. We use stepwise connectivity analysis of Pittsburgh Compound B positron emission tomography images to reveal the network properties of amyloid-β deposits in normal elderly subjects and clinical patients with Alzheimer's disease. We found that amyloid-β accumulation in the medial temporal lobe is associated with accumulation in cortical regions such as orbitofrontal, lateral temporal and precuneus/posterior cingulate cortices in Alzheimer's disease. In normal subjects, there was a predominant association between amyloid-β deposits in the hippocampus and the midline prefrontal/orbitofrontal regions, even in those with very low amyloid-β burden. Moreover, the orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala nucleus and hippocampus exhibit hub properties in the amyloid-β network that may be critical to understanding the putative spreading mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease pathology in early stages.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; early stages; graph theory; network.