Longitudinal Changes in Serum Glucose Levels are Associated with Metabolic Changes in Alzheimer's Disease Related Brain Regions

J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;62(2):833-840. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170767.


Background: The association between longitudinal changes in serum glucose level and longitudinal changes in [18F] Fluorodeoxyglucose-PET (FDG PET) measurements of Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk are unknown.

Objective: To investigate whether variation in serum glucose levels across time are associated with changes in FDG PET measurements of cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (rCMRgl) in brain regions preferentially affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: Participants are a subset of a prospective cohort study investigating FDG PET, apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4, and risk for AD which includes data from baseline, interim, and follow up visits over 4.4±1.0-years. An automated brain-mapping algorithm was utilized to characterize and compare associations between longitudinal changes in serum glucose levels and longitudinal changes in rCMRgl.

Results: This study included 80 adults aged 61.5±5 years, including 38 carriers and 42 non-carriers of the APOE ɛ4 allele. Longitudinal increases in serum glucose levels were associated with longitudinal CMRgl decline in the vicinity of parietotemporal, precuneus/posterior cingulate, and prefrontal brain regions preferentially affected by AD (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons). Findings remained significant when controlled for APOE ɛ4 status and baseline and advancing age.

Conclusions: Additional studies are needed to clarify and confirm the relationship between longitudinal changes in peripheral glucose and FDG PET measurements of AD risk. Future findings will set the stage on the use of FDG PET in the evaluation of possible interventions that target risk factors for the development of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; blood glucose; longitudinal studies; positron emission tomography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Blood Glucose
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18