We examined whether mesial temporal (Me) tau relates to cognitive performance in 47 amyloid-β (Aβ)-negative, cognitively normal older adults (>60 years old). Me-tau was measured using [18F]flortaucipir-positron emission tomography standardized uptake value ratio. The effect of continuous and categorical (stratified at standardized uptake value ratio = 1.2 [21% Me-positive]) Me-tau on cognition (mini-mental state examination, pre-Alzheimer's cognitive composite, a memory composite, and a nonmemory composite score) was examined using general linear models, and associations between Me-tau and [18F]flortaucipir signal in the neocortex were assessed using voxelwise regressions (continuous) and voxelwise contrasts (categorical). In addition, we assessed the effect of age and Aβ burden on Me-tau. Both continuous and categorical Me-tau was associated with worse cognitive performance across all tests and with higher lateral temporal and parietal [18F]flortaucipir signal. Furthermore, we observed a marginal association between Me-tau and age, whereas there was no association with Aβ burden. Our findings indicate that Me-tau in Aβ-negative cognitively normal individuals, which is likely age-related (i.e., primary age-related tauopathy), might not be as benign as commonly thought.
Keywords: Mesial temporal lobe; PART; PET; Tau.
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