The pattern of amyloid accumulation in the brains of adults with Down syndrome.


INTRODUCTION: Adults with Down syndrome (DS) invariably develop Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology. Understanding amyloid deposition in DS can yield crucial information about disease pathogenesis. METHODS: Forty-nine adults with DS aged 25-65 underwent positron emission tomography with Pittsburgh compound-B (PIB). Regional PIB binding was assessed with respect to age, clinical, and cognitive status. RESULTS: Abnormal PIB binding became evident from 39 years, first in striatum followed by rostral prefrontal-cingulo-parietal regions, then caudal frontal, rostral temporal, primary sensorimotor and occipital, and finally parahippocampal cortex, thalamus, and amygdala. PIB binding was related to age, diagnostic status, and cognitive function. DISCUSSION: PIB binding in DS, first appearing in striatum, began around age 40 and was strongly associated with dementia and cognitive decline. The absence of a substantial time lag between amyloid accumulation and cognitive decline contrasts to sporadic/familial AD and suggests this population's suitability for an amyloid primary prevention trial.