White matter lesion severity is associated with reduced cognitive performances in patients with normal CSF Abeta42 levels.
ABSTRACT To identify possible associations between white matter lesions (WML) and cognition in patients with memory complaints, stratified in groups with normal and low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Abeta42 values.
215 consecutive patients with subjective memory complaints were retrospectively included. Patients were stratified into two groups with normal (n = 127) or low (n = 88) CSF Abeta42 levels (cut-off is 450 ng/l). Cognitive scores from the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination (Cognistat) were used as continuous dependent variables in linear regression. WML load was used as a continuous independent variable and was scored with a visual rating scale. The regression model was corrected for possible confounding factors.
WML were significantly associated with MMSE and all Cognistat subscores except language (repetition and naming) and attention in patients with normal CSF Abeta42 levels. No significant associations were observed in patients with low CSF Abeta42.
WML were associated with affection of multiple cognitive domains, including delayed recall and executive functions, in patients with normal CSF Abeta42 levels. The lack of such associations for patients with low CSF Abeta42 (i.e. with evidence for amyloid deposition), suggests that amyloid pathology may obscure cognitive effects of WML.