Presymptomatic cortical thinning in familial Alzheimer disease: a longitudinal MRI study
Weston PS, Nicholas JM, Lehmann M, et al.
Neurology 2016; 87:2050-2057.
To identify a cortical signature pattern of cortical thinning in familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) and assess its utility in detecting and tracking presymptomatic neurodegeneration.
We recruited 43 FAD mutation carriers—36 PSEN1, 7 APP (20 symptomatic, 23 presymptomatic)—and 42 healthy controls to a longitudinal clinical and MRI study. T1-weighted MRI scans were acquired at baseline in all participants; 55 individuals (33 mutation carriers; 22 controls) had multiple (mean 2.9) follow-up scans approximately annually. Cortical thickness was measured using FreeSurfer. A cortical thinning signature was identified from symptomatic FAD participants. We then examined cortical thickness changes in this signature region in presymptomatic carriers and assessed associations with cognitive performance.
The cortical signature included 6 regions: entorhinal cortex, inferior parietal cortex, precuneus, superior parietal cortex, superior frontal cortex, and supramarginal gyrus. There were significant differences in mean cortical signature thickness between mutation carriers and controls 3 years before predicted symptom onset. The earliest significant difference in a single region, detectable 4 years preonset, was in the precuneus. Rate of change in cortical thickness became significantly different in the cortical signature at 5 years before predicted onset, and in the precuneus at 8 years preonset. Baseline mean signature thickness predicted rate of subsequent thinning and correlated with presymptomatic cognitive change.
The FAD cortical signature appears to be similar to that described for sporadic AD. All component regions showed significant presymptomatic thinning. A composite signature may provide more robust results than a single region and have utility as an outcome measure in presymptomatic trials.
Bakkour A,Morris JC, Dickerson BC.
Neurology 2009; 72:1048–1055.