[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have shown significant cross-sectional differences among normal controls (NC) mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients in several fiber tracts in the brain, but longitudinal assessment is needed.
We studied 75 participants (25 NC, 25 amnestic MCI, and 25 mild AD) at baseline and 3 months later, with both imaging and clinical evaluations. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was analyzed in regions of interest (ROIs) in: (1) fornix, (2) cingulum bundle, (3) splenium, and (4) cerebral peduncles. Clinical data included assessments of clinical severity and cognitive function. Cross-sectional and longitudinal differences in FA, within each ROI, were analyzed with generalized estimating equations (GEE).
Cross-sectionally, AD patients had lower FA than NC (p<0.05) at baseline and 3 months in the fornix and anterior portion of the cingulum bundle. Compared to MCI, AD cases had lower FA (p<0.05) in these regions and the splenium at 0 and 3 months. Both the fornix and anterior cingulum correlated across all clinical cognitive scores; lower FA in these ROIs corresponded to worse performance. Over the course of 3 months, when the subjects were clinically stable, the ROIs were also largely stable.
Using DTI, findings indicate FA is decreased in specific fiber tracts among groups of subjects that vary along the spectrum from normal to AD, and that this measure is stable over short periods of time. The fornix is a predominant outflow tract of the hippocampus and may be an important indicator of AD progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but limited work has suggested that APOE genotype may modulate disease phenotype. Carriers of the ε4 allele have been reported to have greater medial temporal lobe (MTL) pathology and poorer memory than noncarriers. Less attention has focused on whether there are domains of cognition and neuroanatomical regions more affected in noncarriers. Further, a major potential confound of prior in vivo studies is the possibility of different rates of clinical misdiagnosis for carriers vs. noncarriers. We compared phenotypic differences in cognition and topography of regional cortical atrophy of ε4 carriers (n = 67) vs. noncarriers (n = 24) with mild AD from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, restricted to those with a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) molecular profile consistent with AD. Between-group comparisons were made for psychometric tests and morphometric measures of cortical thickness and hippocampal volume. Carriers displayed significantly greater impairment on measures of memory retention, whereas noncarriers were more impaired on tests of working memory, executive control, and lexical access. Consistent with this cognitive dissociation, carriers exhibited greater MTL atrophy, whereas noncarriers had greater frontoparietal atrophy. Performance deficits in particular cognitive domains were associated with disproportionate regional brain atrophy within nodes of cortical networks thought to subserve these cognitive processes. These convergent cognitive and neuroanatomic findings in individuals with a CSF molecular profile consistent with AD support the hypothesis that APOE genotype modulates the clinical phenotype of AD through influence on specific large-scale brain networks.