Date of Original Version
Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Abnormal beta-amyloid (Aβ) is associated with deleterious changes in central cholinergic tone in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which may be unmasked by a cholinergic antagonist (J Prev Alzheimers Dis 1:1–4, 2017). Previously, we established the scopolamine challenge test (SCT) as a “cognitive stress test” screening measure to identify individuals at risk for AD (Alzheimer’s & Dementia 10(2):262–7, 2014) (Neurobiol. Aging 36(10):2709-15, 2015). Here we aim to demonstrate the potential of the SCT as an indicator of cognitive change and neocortical amyloid aggregation after a 27-month follow-up interval.
Older adults (N = 63, aged 55–75 years) with self-reported memory difficulties and first-degree family history of AD completed the SCT and PET amyloid imaging at baseline and were then seen for cognitive testing at 9, 18, and 27 months post-baseline. Repeat PET amyloid imaging was completed at the time of the 27-month exam.
Significant differences in both cognitive performance and in Aβ neocortical burden were observed between participants who either failed vs. passed the SCT at baseline, after a 27-month follow-up period.
Cognitive response to the SCT (Alzheimer’s & Dementia 10(2):262–7, 2014) at baseline is related to cognitive change and PET amyloid imaging results, over the course of 27 months, in preclinical AD. The SCT may be a clinically useful screening tool to identify individuals who are more likely to both have positive evidence of amyloidosis on PET imaging and to show measurable cognitive decline over several years.
Alber, J., Maruff, P., Santos, C.Y. et al. Disruption of cholinergic neurotransmission, within a cognitive challenge paradigm, is indicative of Aβ-related cognitive impairment in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease after a 27-month delay interval. Alz Res Therapy 12, 31 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13195-020-00599-1
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