Amyloid involvement in subcortical regions predicts cognitive decline

for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We estimated whether amyloid involvement in subcortical regions may predict cognitive impairment, and established an amyloid staging scheme based on degree of subcortical amyloid involvement. Methods: Data from 240 cognitively normal older individuals, 393 participants with mild cognitive impairment, and 126 participants with Alzheimer disease were acquired at Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative sites. To assess subcortical involvement, we analyzed amyloid deposition in amygdala, putamen, and caudate nucleus. We staged participants into a 3-stage model based on cortical and subcortical amyloid involvement: 382 with no cortical or subcortical involvement as stage 0, 165 with cortical but no subcortical involvement as stage 1, and 203 with both cortical and subcortical involvement as stage 2. Results: Amyloid accumulation was first observed in cortical regions and spread down to the putamen, caudate nucleus, and amygdala. In longitudinal analysis, changes in MMSE, ADAS-cog 13, FDG PET SUVR, and hippocampal volumes were steepest in stage 2 followed by stage 1 then stage 0 (p value <0.001). Stage 2 showed steeper changes in MMSE score (β [SE] = −0.02 [0.004], p < 0.001), ADAS-cog 13 (0.05 [0.01], p < 0.001), FDG PET SUVR (−0.0008 [0.0003], p = 0.004), and hippocampal volumes (−4.46 [0.65], p < 0.001) compared to stage 1. Conclusions: We demonstrated a downward spreading pattern of amyloid, suggesting that amyloid accumulates first in neocortex followed by subcortical structures. Furthermore, our new finding suggested that an amyloid staging scheme based on subcortical involvement might reveal how differential regional accumulation of amyloid affects cognitive decline through functional and structural changes of the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2368-2376
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Amyloid PET
  • Amyloid staging
  • Thal staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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