Distinct 18F-AV-1451 tau PET retention patterns in early- and late-onset Alzheimer's disease
Patients with Alzheimer's disease can present with different clinical phenotypes. Individuals with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (>65 years) typically present with medial temporal lobe neurodegeneration and predominantly amnestic symptomatology, while patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease (<65 years) exhibit greater neocortical involvement associated with a clinical presentation including dyspraxia, executive dysfunction, or visuospatial impairment. We recruited 20 patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, 21 with late-onset Alzheimer's disease, three with prodromal early-onset Alzheimer's disease and 13 with prodromal late-onset Alzheimer's disease, as well as 30 cognitively healthy elderly controls, that had undergone 18F-AV-1451 tau positron emission tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging to explore whether early- and late-onset Alzheimer's disease exhibit differential regional tau pathology and atrophy patterns. Strong associations of lower age at symptom onset with higher 18F-AV-1451 uptake were observed in several neocortical regions, while higher age did not yield positive associations in neither patient group. Comparing patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease with controls resulted in significantly higher 18F-AV-1451 retention throughout the neocortex, while comparing healthy controls with late-onset Alzheimer's disease patients yielded a distinct pattern of higher 18F-AV-1451 retention, predominantly confined to temporal lobe regions. When compared against each other, the early-onset Alzheimer's disease group exhibited greater uptake than the late-onset group in prefrontal and premotor, as well as in inferior parietal cortex. These preliminary findings indicate that age may constitute an important contributor to Alzheimer's disease heterogeneity highlighting the potential of tau positron emission tomography to capture phenotypic variation across patients with Alzheimer's disease.