Tauopathy in veterans with long-term posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury

Mohamed, Abdalla Z.; Cumming, Paul; Götz, Jürgen; Nasrallah, Fatima (2019). Tauopathy in veterans with long-term posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, 46(5), pp. 1139-1151. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00259-018-4241-7

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PURPOSE: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have emerged as independent risk factors for an earlier onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD), although the pathophysiology underlying this risk is unclear. Postmortem studies have revealed extensive cerebral accumulation of tau following multiple and single TBI incidents. We hypothesized that a history of TBI and/or PTSD may induce an AD-like pattern of tau accumulation in the brain of nondemented war veterans. METHODS: Vietnam War veterans (mean age 71.4 years) with a history of war-related TBI and/or PTSD underwent [18F]AV145 PET as part of the US Department of Defense Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Subjects were classified into the following four groups: healthy controls (n = 21), TBI (n = 10), PTSD (n = 32), and TBI+PTSD (n = 17). [18F]AV1451 reference tissue-normalized standardized uptake value (SUVr) maps, scaled to the cerebellar grey matter, were tested for differences in tau accumulation between groups using voxel-wise and region of interest approaches, and the SUVr results were correlated with neuropsychological test scores. RESULTS: Compared to healthy controls, all groups showed widespread tau accumulation in neocortical regions overlapping with typical and atypical patterns of AD-like tau distribution. The TBI group showed higher tau accumulation than the other clinical groups. The extent of tauopathy was positively correlated with the neuropsychological deficit scores in the TBI+PTSD and PTSD groups. CONCLUSION: A history of TBI and/or PTSD may manifest in neurocognitive deficits in association with increased tau deposition in the brain of nondemented war veterans decades after their trauma. Further investigation is required to establish the burden of increased risk of dementia imparted by earlier TBI and/or PTSD.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Cumming, Paul


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Sabine Lanz

Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2019 08:58

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 11:19

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