BACKGROUND/AIMS:This study examines the longitudinal effect of metabolic syndrome (MetS) on brain-aging indices among cognitively normal (CN) and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) groups [single-domain aMCI (saMCI) and multiple-domain aMCI (maMCI)]. METHODS:The study population included 739 participants (CN = 226, saMCI = 275, and maMCI = 238) from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a clinic-based, multi-center prospective cohort. Confirmatory factor analysis was employed to determine a MetS latent composite score using baseline data of vascular risk factors. We examined the changes of two Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers, namely [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) regions of interest and medial temporal lobe volume over 5 years. A cerebrovascular aging index, cerebral white matter (cWM) volume, was examined as a comparison. RESULTS:The vascular risk was similar in all groups. Applying generalized estimating equation modeling, all brain-aging indices declined significantly over time. Higher MetS scores were associated with a faster decline of cWM in the CN and maMCI groups but with a slower decrement of regional glucose metabolism in FDG-PET in the saMCI and maMCI groups. CONCLUSION:At the very early stage of cognitive decline, the vascular burden such as MetS may be in parallel with or independent of AD pathology in contributing to cognitive impairment in terms of accelerating the disclosure of AD pathology.