Resting-state functional connectivity and amyloid burden influence longitudinal cortical thinning in the default mode network in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

Olivia L. Hampton, Rachel F. Buckley, Lyssa K. Manning, Matthew R. Scott, Michael J. Properzi, Cleofe Pena-Gomez, Heidi I. L. Jacobs, Jasmeer P. Chhatwal, Keith A. Johnson, Reisa A. Sperling, Aaron P. Schultz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Proteinopathies are key elements in the pathogenesis of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD), with the nature and location of the proteinopathy characterizing much of the disease phenotype. Susceptibility of brain regions to pathology may partly be determined by intrinsic network structure and connectivity. It remains unknown, however, how these networks inform the disease cascade in the context of AD biomarkers, such as beta-amyloid (A beta), in clinically-normal older adults. The default-mode network (DMN), a prominent intrinsic network, is heavily implicated in AD due to its spatial overlap with AD atrophy patterns and tau deposition. We investigated the influence of baseline Ati positron emission tomography (PET) signal and intrinsic DMN connectivity on DMN-specific cortical thinning in 120 clinically-normal older adults from the Harvard Aging Brain Study (73 +/- 6 years, 58% Female, CDR = 0). Participants underwent C-11 Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) PET, F-18 flortaucipir (FTP) PET, and resting-state MRI scans at baseline and longitudinal MRI (3.6 +/- 0.96 scans; 5.04 +/- 0.8 years). Linear mixed models tested relationships between baseline PiB and DMN connectivity on cortical thinning in a composite of DMN regions. Lower DMN connectivity was associated with faster cortical thinning, but only in those with elevated baseline PiB-PET signal. This relationship was network specific, in that the frontoparietal control network did not account for the observed association. Additionally, the relationship was independent of inferior temporal lobe FTP-PET signal. Our findings provide evidence that compromised DMN connectivity, in the context of preclinical AD, foreshadows neurodegeneration in DMN regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102407
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Functional connectivity
  • Amyloid
  • Default mode network
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • TAU
  • PET
  • BETA
  • MILD

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