Associations of β-Amyloid and Vascular Burden with Rates of Neurodegeneration in Cognitively Normal Members of the 1946 British Birth Cohort

Sarah E. Keuss, William Coath, Jennifer M. Nicholas, Teresa Poole, Josephine Barnes, David M. Cash, Christopher A. Lane, Thomas D. Parker, Ashvini Keshavan, Sarah M. Buchanan, Aaron Z. Wagen, Mathew Storey, Matthew Harris, Ian B. Malone, Carole H. Sudre, Kirsty Lu, Sarah-Naomi James, Rebecca Street, David L. Thomas, John C. DicksonHeidi Murray-Smith, Andrew Wong, Tamar Freiberger, Sebastian Crutch, Marcus Richards, Nick C. Fox, Jonathan M. Schott

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background and ObjectivesThe goals of this work were to quantify the independent and interactive associations of β-amyloid (Aβ) and white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), a marker of presumed cerebrovascular disease (CVD), with rates of neurodegeneration and to examine the contributions of APOE ϵ4 and vascular risk measured at different stages of adulthood in cognitively normal members of the 1946 British Birth Cohort.MethodsParticipants underwent brain MRI and florbetapir-Aβ PET as part of Insight 46, an observational population-based study. Changes in whole-brain, ventricular, and hippocampal volume were directly measured from baseline and repeat volumetric T1 MRI with the boundary shift integral. Linear regression was used to test associations with baseline Aβ deposition, baseline WMHV, APOE ϵ4, and office-based Framingham Heart Study Cardiovascular Risk Score (FHS-CVS) and systolic blood pressure (BP) at ages 36, 53, and 69 years.ResultsThree hundred forty-six cognitively normal participants (mean [SD] age at baseline scan 70.5 [0.6] years; 48% female) had high-quality T1 MRI data from both time points (mean [SD] scan interval 2.4 [0.2] years). Being Aβ positive at baseline was associated with 0.87-mL/y faster whole-brain atrophy (95% CI 0.03, 1.72), 0.39-mL/y greater ventricular expansion (95% CI 0.16, 0.64), and 0.016-mL/y faster hippocampal atrophy (95% CI 0.004, 0.027), while each 10-mL additional WMHV at baseline was associated with 1.07-mL/y faster whole-brain atrophy (95% CI 0.47, 1.67), 0.31-mL/y greater ventricular expansion (95% CI 0.13, 0.60), and 0.014-mL/y faster hippocampal atrophy (95% CI 0.006, 0.022). These contributions were independent, and there was no evidence that Aβ and WMHV interacted in their effects. There were no independent associations of APOE ϵ4 with rates of neurodegeneration after adjustment for Aβ status and WMHV, no clear relationships between FHS-CVS or systolic BP and rates of neurodegeneration when assessed across the whole sample, and no evidence that FHS-CVS or systolic BP acted synergistically with Aβ.DiscussionAβ and presumed CVD have distinct and additive effects on rates of neurodegeneration in cognitively normal elderly. These findings have implications for the use of MRI measures as biomarkers of neurodegeneration and emphasize the importance of risk management and early intervention targeting both pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E129-E141
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022

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