J Neurosci. 2009 Oct 7;29(40):12686-94 doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3189-09.2009.

Disruption of functional connectivity in clinically normal older adults harboring amyloid burden

Hedden T, Van Dijk KR, Becker JA, Mehta A, Sperling RA, Johnson KA, Buckner RL.


Amyloid deposition is present in 20-50% of nondemented older adults yet the functional consequences remain unclear. The current study found that amyloid accumulation is correlated with functional disruption of the default network as measured by intrinsic activity correlations. Clinically normal participants (n = 38, aged 60-88 years) were characterized using (11)C-labeled Pittsburgh Compound B positron emission tomography imaging to estimate fibrillar amyloid burden and, separately, underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The integrity of the default network was estimated by correlating rest-state fMRI time courses extracted from a priori regions including the posterior cingulate, lateral parietal, and medial prefrontal cortices. Clinically normal participants with high amyloid burden displayed significantly reduced functional correlations within the default network relative to participants with low amyloid burden. These reductions were also observed when amyloid burden was treated as a continuous, rather than a dichotomous, measure and when controlling for age and structural atrophy. Whole-brain analyses initiated by seeding the posterior cingulate cortex, a region of high amyloid burden in Alzheimer's disease, revealed significant disruption in the default network including functional disconnection of the hippocampal formation.

PMID: 19812343