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Longitudinal stability of medial temporal lobe connectivity is associated with tau-related memory decline

  1. Quanjing Chen  Is a corresponding author
  2. Adam Turnbull
  3. Timothy M Baran
  4. Feng V Lin
  1. University of Rochester, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e62114 doi: 10.7554/eLife.62114


The relationship between AD pathology and cognitive decline is an important topic in the aging research field. Recent studies suggest that memory deficits are more susceptible to phosphorylated tau (Ptau), than amyloid-beta. However, little is known regarding the neurocognitive mechanisms linking Ptau and memory related decline. Here, we extracted data from ADNI participants with CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) Ptau collected at baseline, diffusion tensor imaging measure twice, two-year apart, and longitudinal memory data over five years. We defined three age- and education-matched groups: Ptau negative cognitively unimpaired, Ptau positive cognitively unimpaired, and Ptau positive individuals with mild cognitive impairment. We found the presence of CSF Ptau at baseline was related to a loss of structural stability in medial temporal lobe connectivity in a way that matched proposed disease progression, and this loss of stability in connections known to be important for memory moderated the relationship between Ptau accumulation and memory decline.

Data availability

Data used in preparation of this article were obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database (adni.loni.usc.edu). As such, the investigators within the ADNI contributed to the design and implementation of ADNI and/or provided data but did not participate in analysis or writing of this report. A complete listing of ADNI investigators can be found at: http://adni.loni.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/how_to_apply/ADNI_Acknowledgement_List.pdf

The following previously published data sets were used

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Author details

  1. Quanjing Chen

    School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-4630-6817
  2. Adam Turnbull

    School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Timothy M Baran

    Department of Imaging Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Feng V Lin

    Department of Imaging Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


National Institutes of Health (R01 NR015452)

  • Feng V Lin

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Human subjects: Human subjects: The current study is a secondary data analysis of limited-identified data per data user agreement between ADNI and F.L.. The human subject research of original ADNI data collection was conducted at each ADNI data collection site (see the full list of sites http://adni.loni.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/how_to_apply/ADNI_Acknowledgement_List.pdf); and written informed consent was obtained from each participant (see http://adni.loni.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/adni2-procedures-manual.pdf for detailed information about ethical procedures for ADNI). Protocol_11.19.14

Reviewing Editor

  1. Muireann Irish, University of Sydney, Australia

Publication history

  1. Received: August 14, 2020
  2. Accepted: December 30, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 31, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: January 4, 2021 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: January 12, 2021 (version 3)


© 2020, Chen et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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