Metabolic Syndrome and Amyloid Accumulation in the Aging Brain

Gabriela Gomez, Lori L. Beason-Held, Murat Bilgel, Yang An, Dean F. Wong, Stephanie Studenski, Luigi Ferrucci, Susan M. Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Recent studies show links between metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology. Understanding the link between vascular-related health conditions and dementia will help target at risk populations and inform clinical strategies for early detection and prevention of AD. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether metabolic syndrome is associated with global cerebral amyloid-β (Aβ) positivity and longitudinal Aβ accumulation. METHODS: Prospective study of 165 participants who underwent (11)C-Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET neuroimaging to measure Aβ, from June 2005 to May 2016. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the revised Third Adults Treatment Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program criteria. Participants were classified as PiB+/-. Linear mixed effects models assessed the relationships between baseline metabolic syndrome and PiB status and regional Aβ change over time. RESULTS: A total of 165 cognitively normal participants of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) Neuroimaging substudy, aged 55-92 years (mean baseline age = 76.4 years, 85 participants were male), received an average of 2.5 PET-PiB scans over an average interval of 2.6 (3.08 SD) years between first and last visits. Metabolic syndrome was not associated with baseline PiB positivity or concurrent regional Aβ. Metabolic syndrome was associated with increased rates of Aβ accumulation in superior parietal and precuneus regions over time in the PiB+ group. Elevated fasting glucose and blood pressure showed individual associations with accelerated Aβ accumulation. CONCLUSION: Metabolic syndrome was associated with accelerated Aβ accumulation in PiB+ individuals and may be an important factor in the progression of AD pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-639
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • amyloid PET
  • brain
  • cholesterol
  • dementia
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • metabolic syndrome
  • vascular


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