Delineating the topography of amyloid-associated cortical atrophy in Down syndrome.


Older adults with Down syndrome (DS) often have Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathologies. Although positron emission tomography imaging studies of amyloid deposition (beta amyloid, Aβ) have been associated with worse clinical prognosis and cognitive impairment, their relationships with cortical thickness remain unclear in people with DS. In a sample of 44 DS adults who underwent cognitive assessments, [11C]-PiB positron emission tomography, and T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo, we used mixed effect models to evaluate the spatial relationships between Aβ binding with patterns of cortical thickness. Partial Spearman correlations were used to delineate the topography of local Aβ-associated cortical thinning. [11C]-PiB nondisplaceable binding potential was negatively associated with decreased cortical thickness. Locally, regional [11C]-PiB retention was negatively correlated with cortical thickness in widespread cortices, predominantly in temporoparietal regions. Contrary to the prevailing evidence in established AD, we propose that our findings implicate Aβ in spatial patterns of atrophy that recapitulated the "cortical signature" of neurodegeneration in AD, conferring support to recent recommendations for earlier disease-interventions.