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PET Imaging of Tau Deposition in the Aging Human Brain

Journal article
Authors Michael Schöll
S. N. Lockhart
D. R. Schonhaut
J. P. O'Neil
M. Janabi
R. Ossenkoppele
S. L. Baker
J. W. Vogel
J. Faria
H. D. Schwimmer
G. D. Rabinovici
W. J. Jagust
Published in Neuron
Volume 89
Issue 5
Pages 971-982
ISSN 0896-6273
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 971-982
Language en
Keywords mild cognitive impairment, alzheimers-disease, neurofibrillary tangles, episodic memory, cerebrospinal-fluid, national institute, age, categories, senile plaques, amyloid-beta, a-beta, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences, Neurology


Tau pathology is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) but also occurs in normal cognitive aging. Using the tau PET agent F-18-AV-1451, we examined retention patterns in cognitively normal older people in relation to young controls and AD patients. Age and beta-amyloid (measured using PiB PET) were differentially associated with tau tracer retention in healthy aging. Older age was related to increased tracer retention in regions of the medial temporal lobe, which predicted worse episodic memory performance. PET detection of tau in other isocortical regions required the presence of cortical b-amyloid and was associated with decline in global cognition. Furthermore, patterns of tracer retention corresponded well with Braak staging of neurofibrillary tau pathology. The present study defined patterns of tau tracer retention in normal aging in relation to age, cognition, and beta-amyloid deposition.

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