59 Scopus citations

Abstract

The National Institute on Aging Preclinical Alzheimer's disease Workgroup (PADW) has issued a preliminary report with recommendations for classifying preclinical Alzheimer's disease (pAD) according to 3 early disease stages. Here we examine the PADW recommendations in relation to neuropathological features in a large, consecutive series of cognitively intact elderly persons, autopsied within a year after cognitive testing (n = 126 cognitively intact patients with mean age 83.7 years at death). Subjects were grouped based on a hypothetical construct correlating pathological features with PADW stages. Many cognitively intact individuals were classifiable as pAD (53/126 or 43%), as expected based on epidemiological and biomarker studies. Of these, most (48%) were in "stage 3", which corresponds to amyloid pathology with early neurodegeneration. As with prior studies, our data indicate that the development of neocortical neurofibrillary tangles is the key pathological event that is not observed in pAD cases: Braak stages III or IV pathology are hence not truly a substrate for "intermediate likelihood" that cognitive impairment is due to Alzheimer's disease (AD). We also stress the importance of comorbid non-Alzheimer's disease brain pathologies (hippocampal sclerosis, neocortical alpha-synucleinopathy, cerebrovascular disease, and brains with hippocampal neurofibrillary tangles but no cortical amyloid plaques) that can contribute to the development of cognitive impairment, or which may serve as confounds in the application of the PADW recommendations. While the final recommendations from the PADW working group have not yet been released, this preliminary analysis provides a perspective on those recommendations from a neuropathological point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622.e1-622.e16
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NIH/NIA R01 NS061933 , P30 AG028383 .

Keywords

  • Biomarkers
  • CSF
  • MRI
  • Neuropathology
  • Nondemented
  • Normal
  • Preclinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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