β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and tau-related neurodegeneration are pathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The utility of AD biomarkers, including those measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), in predicting future AD risk and cognitive decline is still being refined. Here, we explored potential relationships between functional connectivity (FC) patterns within the default-mode network (DMN), age, CSF biomarkers (Aβ42 and pTau181), and cognitive status in older adults. Multiple measures of FC were explored, including a novel time series-based measure [total interdependence (TI)]. In our sample of 27 cognitively normal older adults, no significant associations were found between levels of Aβ42 or pTau181 and cognitive scores or regional brain volumes. However, we observed several novel relationships between these biomarkers and measures of FC in DMN during both resting-state and a short-term memory task. First, increased connectivity between bilateral anterior middle temporal gyri was associated with higher levels of CSF Aβ42 and Aβ42/pTau181 ratio (reflecting lower AD risk) during both rest and task. Second, increased bilateral parietal connectivity during the short-term memory task, but not during rest, was associated with higher levels of CSF pTau181 (reflecting higher AD risk). Third, increased connectivity between left middle temporal and left parietal cortices during the active task was associated with decreased global cognitive status but not CSF biomarkers. Lastly, we found that our new TI method was more sensitive to the CSF42-connectivity relationship whereas the traditional cross-correlation method was more sensitive to levels of CSF pTau181 and cognitive status. With further refinement, resting-state connectivity and task-driven connectivity measures hold promise as non-invasive neuroimaging markers of Aβ and pTau burden in cognitively normal older adults.

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Published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, v. 8, article 15, p. 1-12.

Copyright © 2016 Jiang, Huang, Abner, Broster, Jicha, Schmitt, Kryscio, Andersen, Powell, Van Eldik, Gold, Nelson, Smith and Ding.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Funding Information

The study was supported by funding from the National Institute of Health of the United States, National Institute of Aging P30 AG028383 and R21 AG044862.

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The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at http://journal.frontiersin.org//article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00015

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Supplementary Material