Observational multimodal neuroimaging studies indicate sex differences in Alzheimer's disease pathophysiological markers.
Positron emission tomography brain amyloid load, neurodegeneration (hippocampus and basal forebrain volumes adjusted to total intracranial volume, cortical thickness, and 2-deoxy-2-[fluorine-18]fluoro-D-glucose-positron emission tomography metabolism), and brain resting-state functional connectivity were analyzed in 318 cognitively intact older adults from the INSIGHT-preAD cohort (female n = 201, male n = 117). A linear mixed-effects model was performed to investigate sex effects and sex∗apolipoprotein E genotype interaction on each marker as well as sex∗amyloid group interaction for non-amyloid markers.
Men compared with women showed higher anterior cingulate cortex amyloid load (P = .009), glucose hypometabolism in the precuneus (P = .027), posterior cingulate (P < .001) and inferior parietal (P = .043) cortices, and lower resting-state functional connectivity in the default mode network (P = .024). No brain volumetric markers showed differences between men and women. Sex∗apolipoprotein E genotype and sex∗amyloid status interactions were not significant.
Our findings suggest that cognitively intact older men compared with women have higher resilience to pathophysiological processes of Alzheimer's disease.