Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the brain accumulation of amyloid-β and tau proteins. A growing body of literature suggests that epigenetic dysregulations play a role in the interplay of hallmark proteinopathies with neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment. Here, we aim to characterize an epigenetic dysregulation associated with the brain deposition of amyloid-β and tau proteins. Using positron emission tomography (PET) tracers selective for amyloid-β, tau, and class I histone deacetylase (HDAC I isoforms 1-3), we find that HDAC I levels are reduced in patients with AD. HDAC I PET reduction is associated with elevated amyloid-β PET and tau PET concentrations. Notably, HDAC I reduction mediates the deleterious effects of amyloid-β and tau on brain atrophy and cognitive impairment. HDAC I PET reduction is associated with 2-year longitudinal neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. We also find HDAC I reduction in the postmortem brain tissue of patients with AD and in a transgenic rat model expressing human amyloid-β plus tau pathology in the same brain regions identified in vivo using PET. These observations highlight HDAC I reduction as an element associated with AD pathophysiology.
© 2022. The Author(s).