Depressive symptoms are frequently seen in patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Evidence suggests that there may be a link between current depressive symptoms and Alzheimer disease (AD)-associated pathological changes, such as an increase in cortical amyloid-β (Aβ). However, limited in vivo studies have explored the relationship between current depressive symptoms and cortical Aβ in patients with MCI and AD. Our study, using a large sample of 455 patients with MCI and 153 patients with AD from the Alzheimer's disease Neuroimaging Initiatives, investigated whether current depressive symptoms are related to cortical Aβ deposition. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale and Neuropsychiatric Inventory-depression/dysphoria. Cortical Aβ was quantified using positron emission tomography with the Aβ probe 18F-florbetapir (AV-45). 18F-florbetapir standardized uptake value ratio (AV-45 SUVR) from the frontal, cingulate, parietal, and temporal regions was estimated. A global AV-45 SUVR, defined as the average of frontal, cingulate, precuneus, and parietal cortex, was also used. We observed that current depressive symptoms were not related to cortical Aβ, after controlling for potential confounds, including history of major depression. We also observed that there was no difference in cortical Aβ between matched participants with high and low depressive symptoms, as well as no difference between matched participants with the presence and absence of depressive symptoms. The association between depression and cortical Aβ deposition does not exist, but the relationship is highly influenced by stressful events in the past, such as previous depressive episodes, and complex interactions of different pathways underlying both depression and dementia.
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