Application of the ATN classification scheme in a population without dementia: Findings from the EPAD cohort

the EPAD consortium

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Background: We classified non-demented European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia (EPAD) participants through the amyloid/tau/neurodegeneration (ATN) scheme and assessed their neuropsychological and imaging profiles. Materials and methods: From 1500 EPAD participants, 312 were excluded. Cerebrospinal fluid cut-offs of 1000 pg/mL for amyloid beta (Aß)1-42 and 27 pg/mL for p-tau181 were validated using Gaussian mixture models. Given strong correlation of p-tau and t-tau (R 2 = 0.98, P < 0.001), neurodegeneration was defined by age-adjusted hippocampal volume. Multinomial regressions were used to test whether neuropsychological tests and regional brain volumes could distinguish ATN stages. Results: Age was 65 ± 7 years, with 58% females and 38% apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers; 57.1% were A–T–N–, 32.5% were in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) continuum, and 10.4% suspected non-Alzheimer's pathology. Age and cerebrovascular burden progressed with biomarker positivity (P < 0.001). Cognitive dysfunction appeared with T+. Paradoxically higher regional gray matter volumes were observed in A+T–N– compared to A–T–N– (P < 0.001). Discussion: In non-demented individuals along the AD continuum, p-tau drives cognitive dysfunction. Memory and language domains are affected in the earliest stages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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