Recovery of hippocampal network connectivity correlates with cognitive improvement in mild Alzheimer's disease patients treated with donepezil assessed by resting-state fMRI.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Impact Factor: 2.79). 10/2011; 34(4):764-73. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.22662
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To identify the neural correlates of cognitive improvement in mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) subjects following 12 weeks of donepezil treatment.
Resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI) was used to measure the hippocampal functional connectivity (HFC) in 14 mild AD and 18 age-matched normal (CN) subjects. AD subjects were scanned at baseline and after donepezil treatment. CN subjects were scanned only at baseline as a reference to identify regions correlated or anticorrelated to the hippocampus. Before each scan, participants underwent cognitive, behavioral, and functional assessments.
After donepezil treatment, neural correlates of cognitive improvement measured by Mini-Mental State Examination scores were identified in the left parahippocampus, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and inferior frontal gyrus. Improvement in AD Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale scores correlated with the HFC changes in the left DLPFC and middle frontal gyrus. Stronger recovery in the network connectivity was associated with cognitive improvement.
R-fMRI may provide novel insights into the brain's responses to AD treatment in clinical pharmacological trials, and also may predict clinical response.

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