Neuritic and Diffuse Plaque Associations with Memory in Non-Cognitively Impaired Elderly.J Alzheimers Dis 2016; 53(4):1641-52JA
The presence of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related neuropathology among cognitively normal individuals has been well documented. It has been proposed that these individuals may represent a pre-clinical AD population. Previous studies have demonstrated a negative association between the presence of both amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles with ante-mortem cognitive performance, a relationship which is likely influenced by a number of factors including age and APOE ɛ4 carrier status. The present study determined whether the presence of neuritic plaques (NPs) and diffuse plaques (DPs) are associated with performance in a number of cognitive domains after accounting for APOE ɛ4 carrier status and neurofibrillary tangle presence in a cohort of 123 older participants from the Rush Religious Order Study who died with a premortem clinical diagnosis of no cognitive impairment (NCI). After adjusting for age at death, education, gender, Braak stage, and APOE ɛ4 carrier status, the presence of NPs was associated with lower performance in the cognitive domains of Global Cognition (p = 0.002), Episodic Memory (p = 0.03), Semantic Memory (p = 0.009), and Visuospatial performance (p = 0.006), while DPs showed no association with any cognitive domain examined. These results suggest that decreases in cognition in elderly NCI individuals are associated with an increase in NPs and not DPs when age at death, education, gender, APOE ɛ4 status, and Braak stage are taken into consideration.