Tau-Atrophy Variability Reveals Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Alzheimer's Disease

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Tau neurofibrillary tangles (T) are the primary driver of downstream neurodegeneration (N) and subsequent cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, there is substantial variability in the T-N relationship – manifested in higher or lower atrophy than expected for level of tau in a given brain region. The goal of this study was to determine if region-based quantitation of this variability allows for identification of underlying modulatory factors, including polypathology. Methods: Cortical thickness (N) and 18F-Flortaucipir SUVR (T) were computed in 104 gray matter regions from a cohort of cognitively-impaired, amyloid-positive (A+) individuals. Region-specific residuals from a robust linear fit between SUVR and cortical thickness were computed as a surrogate for T-N mismatch. A summary T-N mismatch metric defined using residuals were correlated with demographic and imaging-based modulatory factors, and to partition the cohort into data-driven subgroups. Results: The summary T-N mismatch metric correlated with underlying factors such as age and burden of white matter hyperintensity lesions. Data-driven subgroups based on clustering of residuals appear to represent different biologically relevant phenotypes, with groups showing distinct spatial patterns of higher or lower atrophy than expected. Interpretation: These data support the notion that a measure of deviation from a normative relationship between tau burden and neurodegeneration across brain regions in individuals on the AD continuum captures variability due to multiple underlying factors, and can reveal phenotypes, which if validated, may help identify possible contributors to neurodegeneration in addition to tau, which may ultimately be useful for cohort selection in clinical trials. ANN NEUROL 2021;90:751–762.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-762
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Volume90
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection and sharing for this project was funded by the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 AG024904) and DOD ADNI (Department of Defense award number W81XWH‐12‐2‐0012). ADNI is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and through generous contributions from the following: AbbVie, Alzheimer's Association; Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation; Araclon Biotech; BioClinica, Inc.; Biogen; Bristol‐Myers Squibb Company; CereSpir, Inc.; Cogstate; Eisai Inc.; Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; EuroImmun; F. Hoffmann‐La Roche Ltd and its affiliated company Genentech, Inc.; Fujirebio; GE Healthcare; IXICO Ltd.; Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, LLC.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC.; Lumosity; Lundbeck; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meso Scale Diagnostics, LLC.; NeuroRx Research; Neurotrack Technologies; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer Inc.; Piramal Imaging; Servier; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company; and Transition Therapeutics. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is providing funds to support ADNI clinical sites in Canada. Private sector contributions are facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health ( www.fnih.org ). The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute at the University of Southern California. ADNI data are disseminated by the Laboratory for Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California.

Funding Information:
Data collection and sharing for this project was funded by the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 AG024904) and DOD ADNI (Department of Defense award number W81XWH-12-2-0012). ADNI is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and through generous contributions from the following: AbbVie, Alzheimer's Association; Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation; Araclon Biotech; BioClinica, Inc.; Biogen; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; CereSpir, Inc.; Cogstate; Eisai Inc.; Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; EuroImmun; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and its affiliated company Genentech, Inc.; Fujirebio; GE Healthcare; IXICO Ltd.; Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, LLC.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC.; Lumosity; Lundbeck; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meso Scale Diagnostics, LLC.; NeuroRx Research; Neurotrack Technologies; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer Inc.; Piramal Imaging; Servier; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company; and Transition Therapeutics. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is providing funds to support ADNI clinical sites in Canada. Private sector contributions are facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (www.fnih.org). The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute at the University of Southern California. ADNI data are disseminated by the Laboratory for Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Neurological Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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