Effectiveness of regional DTI measures in distinguishing Alzheimer's disease, MCI, and normal aging

Talia M. Nir, Neda Jahanshad, Julio E. Villalon-Reina, Arthur W. Toga, Clifford R. Jack, Michael W. Weiner, Paul M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) recently added diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), among several other new imaging modalities, in an effort to identify sensitive biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD). While anatomical MRI is the main structural neuroimaging method used in most AD studies and clinical trials, DTI is sensitive to microscopic white matter (WM) changes not detectable with standard MRI, offering additional markers of neurodegeneration. Prior DTI studies of AD report lower fractional anisotropy (FA), and increased mean, axial, and radial diffusivity (MD, AxD, RD) throughout WM. Here we assessed which DTI measures may best identify differences among AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and cognitively healthy elderly control (NC) groups, in region of interest (ROI) and voxel-based analyses of 155 ADNI participants (mean age: 73.5 ± 7.4; 90 M/65 F; 44 NC, 88 MCI, 23 AD). Both VBA and ROI analyses revealed widespread group differences in FA and all diffusivity measures. DTI maps were strongly correlated with widely-used clinical ratings (MMSE, CDR-sob, and ADAS-cog). When effect sizes were ranked, FA analyses were least sensitive for picking up group differences. Diffusivity measures could detect more subtle MCI differences, where FA could not. ROIs showing strongest group differentiation (lowest p-values) included tracts that pass through the temporal lobe, and posterior brain regions. The left hippocampal component of the cingulum showed consistently high effect sizes for distinguishing groups, across all diffusivity and anisotropy measures, and in correlations with cognitive scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-195
Number of pages16
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Biomarkers
  • Clinical scores
  • DTI
  • MCI
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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    Nir, T. M., Jahanshad, N., Villalon-Reina, J. E., Toga, A. W., Jack, C. R., Weiner, M. W., & Thompson, P. M. (2013). Effectiveness of regional DTI measures in distinguishing Alzheimer's disease, MCI, and normal aging. NeuroImage: Clinical, 3, 180-195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2013.07.006