Tau pathology in early Alzheimer's disease is linked to selective disruptions in neurophysiological network dynamics
Ece Kocagoncu, Andrew Quinn, Azadeh Firouzian, Elisa Cooper, Andrea Greve, Roger Gunn, Gary Green, Mark W. Woolrich, Richard N. Henson, Simon Lovestone, Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study team, James B. Rowe
Abstract Understanding the role of Tau protein aggregation in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease is critical for the development of new Tau-based therapeutic strategies to slow or prevent dementia. We tested the hypothesis that Tau pathology is associated with functional organization of widespread neurophysiological networks. We used electro-magnetoencephalography with [18F]AV-1451 PET scanning to quantify Tau-dependent network changes. Using a graph theoretical approach to brain connectivity, we quantified nodal measures of functional segregation, centrality, and the efficiency of information transfer and tested them against levels of [18F]AV-1451. Higher Tau burden in early Alzheimer's disease was associated with a shift away from the optimal small-world organization and a more fragmented network in the beta and gamma bands, whereby parieto-occipital areas were disconnected from the anterior parts of the network. Similarly, higher Tau burden was associated with decreases in both local and global efficiency, especially in the gamma band. The results support the translational development of neurophysiological “signatures” of Alzheimer's disease, to understand disease mechanisms in humans and facilitate experimental medicine studies.