Article

Fornix integrity and hippocampal volume predict memory decline and progression to Alzheimer's disease.

Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association (Impact Factor: 17.47). 03/2012; 8(2):105-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2011.05.2416
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The fornix is the predominant outflow tract of the hippocampus, a brain region known to be affected early in the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aims of the present study were to: (1) examine the cross-sectional relationship between fornix diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measurements (fractional anisotropy [FA], mean diffusivity [MD], axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity), hippocampal volume, and memory performance, and (2) compare fornix DTI measures with hippocampal volumes as predictors of progression and transition from amnestic mild cognitive impairment to AD dementia.
Twenty-three mild cognitive impairment participants for whom hippocampal volumetry and DTI were conducted at baseline received detailed evaluations at baseline; 3, 6, and 12 months; and 2.5 years. Six participants converted to AD over the follow-up period. Fornix and posterior cingulum DTI measurements and hippocampal volumes were ascertained using manual measures. Random effects models assessed each of the neuroimaging measures as predictors of decline on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Clinical Dementia Rating-sum of boxes, and memory z scores; receiver operating characteristic analyses examined the predictive value for conversion to AD.
There was a significant correlation between fornix FA and hippocampal volumes. However, only the fornix measurements (FA, MD, radial diffusivity, and axial diffusivity) were cross-sectionally correlated with memory z scores. Both fornix FA and hippocampal volumes were predictive of memory decline. Individually, fornix FA and MD and hippocampal volumes were very good predictors of progression, with likelihood ratios >83, and better than 90% accuracy.
Fornix FA both cross-sectionally correlated with and longitudinally predicted memory decline and progression to AD. Manually drawn region of interest within the fornix shows promise comparable with hippocampal volume as a predictive biomarker of progression, and this finding warrants replication in a larger study.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Constantine G Lyketsos, Jun 20, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
289 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The fornix is a part of the limbic system and constitutes the major efferent and afferent white matter tracts from the hippocampi. The underdevelopment of or injuries to the fornix are strongly associated with memory deficits. Its role in memory impairments was suggested long ago with cases of surgical forniceal transections. However, recent advances in brain imaging techniques, such as diffusion tensor imaging have revealed that macrostructural and microstructural abnormalities of the fornix correlated highly with declarative and episodic memory performance. This structure appears to provide a robust and early imaging predictor for memory deficits not only in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, but also in schizophrenia and psychiatric disorders, and during neurodevelopment and “typical” aging. The objective of the manuscript is to present a systematic review regarding published brain imaging research on the fornix, including the development of its tracts, its role in various neurological diseases, and its relationship to neurocognitive performance in human studies.
    Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 01/2015; DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00343 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The spectrum of cognitive symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) can span various domains, including executive function, language, attention, memory, and visuospatial skills. These symptoms may be attributable to the degradation of projection fibers associated with the underlying neurodegenerative process. The primary purpose of this study is to find microstructural correlates of impairments across these cognitive domains in PD using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Sixteen patients with PD with comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation and DTI data were retrospectively studied. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were assessed using regions-of-interest (ROI) analysis and confirmed with a voxel-based approach. Executive function directly correlated with FA and inversely correlated with MD in mostly frontal white matter tracts, especially the anterior limb of the internal capsule and genu of the corpus callosum. Likewise, language and attentional performance demonstrated correlations with DTI parameters in the frontal regions, but the attention domain additionally recruited regions widespread throughout the brain, with the most significant correlation identified in cingulate gyrus (cingulum). Lastly, memory impairment mainly involved MD alterations within the fornix. No significant correlations were found between visuospatial skills and DTI measures. Despite some overlap, unique patterns of white matter diffusivity underlie impairments in distinct cognitive domains in patients with PD. DTI combined with neurocognitive tests may be a valuable biomarker for identifying cognitive impairments in PD. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 04/2014; 35(4). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22256 · 6.92 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ability to image the whole brain through ever more subtle and specific methods/contrasts has come to play a key role in understanding the basis of brain abnormalities in several diseases. In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), "diffusion" (i.e. the random, thermally-induced displacements of water molecules over time) represents an extraordinarily sensitive contrast mechanism, and the exquisite structural detail it affords has proven useful in a vast number of clinical as well as research applications. Since diffusion-MRI is a truly quantitative imaging technique, the indices it provides can serve as potential imaging biomarkers which could allow early detection of pathological alterations as well as tracking and possibly predicting subtle changes in follow-up examinations and clinical trials. Accordingly, diffusion-MRI has proven useful in obtaining information to better understand the microstructural changes and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying various neurodegenerative disorders. In this review article, we summarize and explore the main applications, findings, perspectives as well as challenges and future research of diffusion-MRI in various neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease and degenerative ataxias. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.mri.2015.04.006 · 2.02 Impact Factor