< Back to previous page


Spatial decrease of synaptic density in amnestic mild cognitive impairment follows the tau build-up pattern

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Next to amyloid and tau, synaptic loss is a key pathological hallmark in Alzheimer's disease, closely related to cognitive dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Tau is thought to cause synaptic loss, but this has not been experimentally verified in vivo. In a 2-year follow-up study, dual tracer PET-MR was performed in 12 amnestic MCI patients using 18F-MK-6240 for tau and 11C-UCB-J for SV2A as a proxy for synaptic density. Tau already accumulated in the neocortex at baseline with progression in Braak V/VI at follow-up. While synaptic loss was limited to limbic regions at baseline, it followed the specific tau pattern to stage IV/V regions two years later, indicating that tau spread might drive synaptic vulnerability. Moreover, synaptic density changes correlated to changes in cognitive function. This study shows for the first time in vivo that synaptic loss regionally follows tau accumulation after two years, providing a disease-modifying window of opportunity for (combined) tau-targeting therapies.
Journal: Molecular Psychiatry
ISSN: 1359-4184
Issue: 10
Volume: 27
Pages: 4244 - 4251
Publication year:2022