Precuneus amyloid burden is associated with reduced cholinergic activity in Alzheimer disease
Objective: This study examined the relationship between postmortem precuneus cholinergic enzyme activity, Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) binding, and soluble amyloid-β concentration in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD). Methods: Choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity, [3H]PiB binding, and soluble amyloid-β1-42 (Aβ42) concentration were quantified in precuneus tissue samples harvested postmortem from subjects with no cognitive impairment (NCI), MCI, and mild AD and correlated with their last antemortem Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score and postmortem pathologic evaluation according to the National Institute on Aging-Reagan criteria, recommendations of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease, and Braak stage. Results: Precuneus ChAT activity was lower in AD than in NCI and was comparable between MCI and NCI. Precuneus [3H]PiB binding and soluble Aβ42 levels were elevated in MCI and significantly higher in AD than in NCI. Across all case subjects, reduced ChAT activity was associated with increased [3H]PiB binding, increased soluble Aβ42, lower MMSE score, presence of the APOE®4 allele, and more advanced AD pathology. Conclusions: Despite accumulating amyloid burden, cholinergic enzyme activity is stable in the precuneus during prodromal AD. A decline in precuneus ChAT activity occurs only in clinical AD, when PiB binding and soluble Aβ42 levels are substantially elevated compared with those in MCI. Anti-amyloid interventions in MCI case subjects with a positive PiB PET scan may aid in reducing cholinergic deficits and cognitive decline later in the disease process. Copyright © 2011 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Ikonomovic, M. D.; Klunk, W. E.; Abrahamson, E. E.; Wuu, J.; Mathis, C. A.; Scheff, S. W.; Mufson, E. J.; and DeKosky, S. T., "Precuneus amyloid burden is associated with reduced cholinergic activity in Alzheimer disease" (2011). Translational Neuroscience. 1916.