INTRODUCTION: Studies suggest distinct differences in the development, presentation, progression, and response to treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) between females and males. We investigated sex differences in cognition, neuroimaging, and fluid biomarkers in dominantly inherited AD (DIAD). METHODS: Three hundred twenty-five mutation carriers (55% female) and one hundred eighty-six non-carriers (58% female) of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Observational Study were analyzed. Linear mixed models and Spearman's correlation explored cross-sectional sex differences in cognition, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (11C-PiB PET) and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). RESULTS: Female carriers performed better than males on delayed recall and processing speed despite similar hippocampal volumes. As the disease progressed, symptomatic females revealed higher increases in MRI markers of neurodegeneration and memory impairment. PiB PET and established CSF AD markers revealed no sex differences. DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest an initial cognitive reserve in female carriers followed by a pronounced increase in neurodegeneration coupled with worse performance on delayed recall at later stages of DIAD.
- dominantly inherited Alzheimer's disease
- presymptomatic Alzheimer's disease