The amyloid hypothesis suggests that beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition leads to alterations in neural function and ultimately to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. However, factors that underlie Aβ deposition are incompletely understood. One proposed model suggests that synaptic activity leads to increased Aβ deposition. More specifically, hyperactivity in the hippocampus may be detrimental and could be one factor that drives Aβ deposition. To test this model, we examined the relationship between hippocampal activity during a memory task using fMRI and subsequent longitudinal change in Aβ using PIB-PET imaging in cognitively normal older adults. We found that greater hippocampal activation at baseline was associated with increased Aβ accumulation. Furthermore, increasing Aβ accumulation mediated the influence of hippocampal activation on declining memory performance, demonstrating a crucial role of Aβ in linking hippocampal activation and memory. These findings support a model linking increased hippocampal activation to subsequent Aβ deposition and cognitive decline.
Keywords: PIB; aging; amyloid; hippocampus; human; longitudinal; memory; neuroscience.