Association of amyloid-β CSF/PET discordance and tau load 5 years later

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between discordant β-amyloid (Aβ) PET and CSF biomarkers at baseline and the emergence of tau pathology 5 years later. METHODS: We included 730 Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) participants without dementia (282 cognitively normal, 448 mild cognitive impairment) with baseline [18F]florbetapir PET and CSF Aβ42 available. Aβ CSF/PET status was determined at baseline using established cutoffs. Longitudinal data were available for [18F]florbetapir (Aβ) PET (baseline to 4.3 ± 1.9 years), CSF (p)tau (baseline to 2.0 ± 0.1 years), cognition (baseline to 4.3 ± 2.0 years), and [18F]flortaucipir (tau) PET (measured 5.2 ± 1.2 years after baseline to 1.6 ± 0.7 years later). We used linear mixed modeling to study the association between Aβ CSF/PET status and tau pathology measured in CSF or using PET. We calculated the proportion of CSF+/PET- participants who during follow-up (1) progressed to Aβ CSF+/PET+ or (2) became tau-positive based on [18F]flortaucipir PET. RESULTS: Aβ CSF+/PET+ (n = 318) participants had elevated CSF (p)tau levels and worse cognitive performance at baseline, while CSF+/PET- (n = 80) participants were overall similar to the CSF-/PET- (N = 306) group. Five years after baseline, [18F]flortaucipir PET uptake in the CSF+/PET- group (1.20 ± 0.13) did not differ from CSF-/PET- (1.18 ± 0.08, p = 0.69), but was substantially lower than CSF+/PET+ (1.48 ± 0.44, p < 0.001). Of the CSF+/PET- participants, 21/64 (33%) progressed to Aβ CSF+/PET+, whereas only one (3%, difference p < 0.05) became tau-positive based on [18F]flortaucipir PET. CONCLUSIONS: Aβ load detectable by both CSF and PET seems to precede substantial tau deposition. Compared to participants with abnormal Aβ levels on both PET and CSF, the CSF+/PET- group has a distinctly better prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2648-e2657
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020

Cite this