White matter microstructure associations to amyloid burden in adults with Down syndrome

Austin M. Bazydlo, Matthew D. Zammit, Minjie Wu, Patrick J. Lao, Douglas C. Dean, Sterling C. Johnson, Dana L. Tudorascu, Ann Cohen, Karly A. Cody, Beau Ances, Charles M. Laymon, William E. Klunk, Shahid Zaman, Benjamin L. Handen, Sigan L. Hartley, Andrew L. Alexander, Bradley T. Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease (AD). One of the early underlying mechanisms in AD pathology is the accumulation of amyloid protein plaques, which are deposited in extracellular gray matter and signify the first stage in the cascade of neurodegenerative events. AD-related neurodegeneration is also evidenced as microstructural changes in white matter. In this work, we explored the correlation of white matter microstructure with amyloid load to assess amyloid-related neurodegeneration in a cohort of adults with DS. Methods: In this study of 96 adults with DS, the relation of white matter microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and amyloid plaque burden using [11C]PiB PET were examined. The amyloid load (AβL) derived from [11C]PiB was used as a global measure of amyloid burden. AβL and DTI measures were compared using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and corrected for imaging site and chronological age. Results: TBSS of the DTI maps showed widespread age-by-amyloid interaction with both fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD). Further, diffuse negative association of FA and positive association of MD with amyloid were observed. Discussion: These findings are consistent with the white matter microstructural changes associated with AD disease progression in late onset AD in non-DS populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102908
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Amyloid-β
  • DTI
  • Down syndrome
  • PET


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