Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging reveals distinct sensitivity of hippocampal subfields in asymptomatic stage of Alzheimer's disease

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2022-08-12
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American English
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While hippocampal atrophy and its regional susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are well reported at late stages of AD, studies of the asymptomatic stage of AD are limited but could elucidate early stage pathophysiology as well as provide predictive biomarkers. In this study, we performed multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to estimate morphometry, functional connectivity, and tissue microstructure of hippocampal subfields in cognitively normal adults including those with asymptomatic AD. High-resolution resting-state functional, diffusion and structural MRI, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), and neuropsychological evaluations were performed in healthy young adults (HY: n = 40) and healthy older adults with negative (HO−: n = 47) and positive (HO+ : n = 25) CSF biomarkers of AD. Morphometry, functional connectivity, and tissue microstructure were estimated from the structural, functional, and diffusion MRI images, respectively. Our results indicated that normal aging affected morphometry, connectivity, and microstructure in all hippocampal subfields, while the subiculum and CA1-3 demonstrated the greatest sensitivity to asymptomatic AD pathology. Tau, rather than amyloid-β, was closely associated with imaging-derived synaptic and microstructural measures. Microstructural metrics were significantly associated with neuropsychological assessments. These findings suggest that the subiculum and CA1-3 are the most vulnerable in asymptomatic AD and tau level is driving these early changes.

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Wu J, Shahid SS, Lin Q, et al. Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging reveals distinct sensitivity of hippocampal subfields in asymptomatic stage of Alzheimer's disease. Front Aging Neurosci. 2022;14:901140. Published 2022 Aug 12. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2022.901140
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Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
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