Role of tau deposition in early cognitive decline in Down syndrome

Sigan L. Hartley, Benjamin L. Handen, Dana Tudorascu, Laise Lee, Annie Cohen, Brianna Piro-Gambetti, Matthew Zammit, William Klunk, Charles Laymon, Shahid Zaman, Beau M. Ances, Marwan Sabbagh, Bradley T. Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Drawing on the amyloid/tau/neurodegeneration (AT[N]) model, the study examined whether the tau positron emission tomography (PET) biomarker [18F]AV-1451 was associated with episodic memory problems beyond what was predicted by the amyloid beta (Aβ) PET in Down syndrome (DS). Methods: Data from 123 non-demented adults with DS (M = 47 years, standard deviation = 6.34) were analyzed. The Cued Recall Test assessed episodic memory. Tau PET standardized update value ratio (SUVR) was assessed across Braak regions as continuous and binary (high tau [TH] vs. low tau [TL]) variable. Global PET Aβ SUVR was assessed as binary variable (Aβ– vs. Aβ+). Results: In models adjusting for controls, tau SUVR was negatively associated with episodic memory performance in the Aβ+ but not Aβ– group. The Aβ+/TH group evidenced significantly worse episodic memory than the Aβ+/TL group. Discussion: Similar to late-onset and autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (AD), high tau was an indicator of early prodromal AD in DS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12256
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Down syndrome
  • amyloid
  • memory
  • positron emission tomography
  • tau


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