Introduction: Down syndrome (DS) arises from a triplication of chromosome 21, causing overproduction of the amyloid precursor protein and predisposes individuals to early Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods: Fifty-two nondemented adults with DS underwent two cycles of carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh compound B ([11C]PiB) and T1 weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans 3.0 ± 0.6 years apart. Standard uptake value ratio (SUVR) images (50-70 minutes; cerebellar gray matter [GM]) and GM volumes were analyzed in standardized space (Montreal Neurological Institute space).
Results: 85% of PiB(-) subjects remained PiB(-), whereas 15% converted to PiB(+), predominantly in the striatum. None reverted from PiB(+) to PiB(-). Increases in SUVR were distributed globally, but there were no decreases in GM volume. The PiB positivity groups differed in the percent rate of change in SUVR [PiB(-): 0.5%/year, PiB converters: 4.9%/year, and PiB(+): 3.7%/year], but not in GM volume.
Discussion: Despite the characteristic striatum-first pattern, the global rate of amyloid accumulation differs by pre-existing amyloid burden and precedes atrophy or dementia in the DS population, similar to general AD progression.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid PET; Down syndrome; Longitudinal; PiB.