Atrophy, metabolism and cognition in the posterior cortical atrophy spectrum based on Alzheimer's disease cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers


INTRODUCTION: In vivo clinical, anatomical and metabolic differences between posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) patients presenting with different Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers profiles are still unknown. METHODS: Twenty-seven PCA patients underwent CSF examination and were classified as 1) PCA with a typical CSF AD profile (PCA-tAD; abnormal amyloid and T-tau/P-tau biomarkers, n = 13); 2) PCA with an atypical AD CSF profile (PCA-aAD; abnormal amyloid biomarker only, n = 9); and 3) PCA not associated with AD (PCA-nonAD; normal biomarkers, n = 5). All patients underwent clinical and cognitive assessment, structural MRI, and a subset of them underwent brain 18F-FDG PET. RESULTS: All patients’ groups showed a common pattern of posterior GM atrophy and hypometabolism typical of PCA, as well as equivalent demographics and clinical/cognitive profiles. PCA-tAD patients showed a group-specific pattern of hypometabolism in the left fusiform gyrus and inferior temporal gyrus. PCA-aAD did not present a group-specific atrophy pattern. Finally, group-specific gray matter atrophy in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left caudate nucleus and right medial temporal regions and hypometabolism in the right supplementary motor area and paracentral lobule were observed in PCA-nonAD patients. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that both PCA-tAD and PCA-aAD patients are on the AD continuum, in agreement with the recently suggested A/T/N model. Furthermore, in PCA, the underlying pathology has an impact at least on the anatomo-functional presentation. Brain damage observed in PCA-tAD and PCA-aAD was mostly consistent with the well-described presentation of the disease, although it was more widespread in PCA-tAD group, especially in the left temporal lobe. Additional fronto-temporal (especially dorsolateral prefrontal) damage seems to be a clue to underlying non-AD pathology in PCA, which warrants the need for longitudinal follow-ups to investigate frontal symptoms in these patients.

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