Longitudinal trajectories of Alzheimer's ATN biomarkers in elderly persons without dementia.
BACKGROUND: Models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology posit that amyloidosis [A] precedes and accelerates tau pathology [T] that leads to neurodegeneration [N]. Besides this A-T-N sequence, other biomarker sequences are possible. This current work investigates and compares the longitudinal trajectories of Alzheimer's ATN biomarker profiles in non-demented elderly adults from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort. METHODS: Based on the ATN classification system, 262 individuals were identified before dementia diagnosis and accompanied by baseline and follow-up data of ATN biomarkers (CSF Aβ42, p-tau, and FDG-PET). We recorded the conversion processes in ATN biomarkers during follow-up, then analyzed the possible longitudinal trajectories and estimated the conversion rate and temporal evolution of biomarker changes. To evaluate how biomarkers changed over time, we used linear mixed-effects models. RESULTS: During a 6-120-month follow-up period, there were four patterns of longitudinal changes in Alzheimer's ATN biomarker profiles, from all negative to positive through the course of the disease. The most common pattern is that A pathology biomarker first emerges. As well as the classical A-T-N sequence, other "A-first," "T-first," and "N-first" biomarker pathways were found. The N-A-T sequence had the fastest rate of pathological progression (mean 65.00 months), followed by A-T-N (mean 67.07 months), T-A-N (mean 68.85 months), and A-N-T sequences (mean 98.14 months). CONCLUSIONS: Our current work presents a comprehensive analysis of longitudinal trajectories of Alzheimer's ATN biomarkers in non-demented elderly adults. Stratifying disease into subtypes depending on the temporal evolution of biomarkers will benefit the early recognition and treatment.