Longitudinal Tau Positron Emission Tomography in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

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Background and Objective: Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) may have overlapping Alzheimer's disease pathology. We investigated the longitudinal rate of tau accumulation and its association with neurodegeneration and clinical disease progression in DLB. Methods: Consecutive patients with probable DLB (n = 22) from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and age-matched and sex-matched cognitively unimpaired controls (CU; n = 22) with serial magnetic resonance imaging and flortaucipir positron emission tomography scans within an average of 1.6 years were included. Regional annualized rates of flortaucipir uptake standardized uptake value ratios (SUVr) were calculated. Regional annualized rates of cortical volume change were measured with the Tensor Based Morphometry–Syn algorithm. Results: The annual increase of flortaucipir SUVr was greater in the middle and superior occipital, fusiform, and inferior parietal cortices in DLB (mean: 0.017, 0.019, 0.019, and 0.015, respectively) compared with the CU (mean: −0.006, −0.009, −0.003, and − 0.005, respectively; P < 0.05). In patients with DLB (but not the CU), a longitudinal increase in flortaucipir SUVr was associated with longitudinal cortical atrophy rates in the lateral occipital and inferior temporoparietal cortices, hippocampus, and the temporal pole as well as a concurrent decline on Mini-Mental State Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating–Sum of Boxes in the lateral occipital and the fusiform cortices. Conclusions: Tau accumulation was faster in DLB compared with the CU, with increased accumulation rates in the lateral occipital and temporoparietal cortices. These increased rates of tau accumulation were associated with neurodegeneration and faster disease progression in DLB. Tau may be a potential treatment target in a subset of patients with DLB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1264
Number of pages9
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • PET
  • dementia with Lewy bodies
  • longitudinal
  • neurodegeneration
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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