While the risk of Alzheimer?s disease (AD) increases with advancing age, approximately 5% of AD patients develop symptoms before age 65 (~280,000 Americans). The vast majority (90%-95%) of EOAD patients do not have a known mutation in APP or PSEN1/2, and only ~50% are APOE ?4 carriers. Unlike late-onset AD (LOAD), 30-64% of EOAD have non-amnestic presentations, leading to missed or delayed diagnosis. Despite being highly motivated and having few comorbidities AD, EOAD patients are commonly excluded from large scale observational biomarker studies (e.g. ADNI and DIAN) and therapeutic trials due to their young age, non- amnestic deficits, or absence of known pathogenic mutations. Furthermore, studies suggest high heritability in EOAD in the absence of known mutations or APOE ?4, signifying that this population may be enriched for novel genetic risk factors. Emerging biomarkers of amyloid and tau have not been systematically characterized in this population, and clinical and neuroimaging measures employed in LOAD may be insensitive to baseline deficits and disease progression in EOAD, which predominantly involve non-memory cognitive domains and posterior cortical neurodegeneration. To fill this gap in AD research, we plan to recruit and longitudinally follow 400 amyloid PET-positive EOAD subjects meeting NIA-AA criteria for MCI due to AD or probable AD dementia (including primary amnestic, dysexecutive, language and visuospatial presentations) and 100 age-matched controls. Participants will undergo clinical assessments, psychometric testing, MRI, amyloid ([18F]Florbetaben) and tau ([18F]AV1451) PET, CSF and blood draw for collection of DNA, RNA, plasma, serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Patients will be assessed at three time points ? baseline (both EOAD and controls), 12 months (EOAD only, all measures) and 24 months (EOAD, all measures except PET). Methods will be harmonized with ADNI and DIAN. We will comprehensively characterize cognitive, imaging and biofluid changes over time in EOAD, and compare to a matched sample of LOAD participants identified in ADNI. We will employ machine learning algorithms to develop sensitive clinical and imaging measures of EOAD progression. An exploratory aim will apply next generation sequencing to assess for novel genetic risk factors for disease. The study will also establish a network of EOAD research sites and set the stage for the launch of clinical trials in this population.

Public Health Relevance

Patients with early-onset Alzheimer?s disease (EOAD), occurring before age 65, are an understudied segment of the population of patients with AD, and many treatment studies exclude these younger individuals. In this project, we plan to recruit and follow more than 400 people with EOAD in order to better understand changes in thinking abilities, changes in the brain, and changes in blood and spinal fluid, with the goal of using this information to design new treatment trials inclusive of this segment of the AD population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
High Priority, Short Term Project Award (R56)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Wise, Bradley C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Mustafa, Rafid; Brosch, Jared R; Rabinovici, Gil D et al. (2018) Patient and Caregiver Assessment of the Benefits From the Clinical Use of Amyloid PET Imaging. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 32:35-42
Apostolova, Liana G; Risacher, Shannon L; Duran, Tugce et al. (2018) Associations of the Top 20 Alzheimer Disease Risk Variants With Brain Amyloidosis. JAMA Neurol 75:328-341