Small vessel disease more than Alzheimer's disease determines diffusion MRI alterations in memory clinic patients

Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), DELCODE study group, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), Utrecht VCI study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Microstructural alterations as assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are key findings in both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and small vessel disease (SVD). We determined the contribution of each of these conditions to diffusion alterations. Methods: We studied six samples (N = 365 participants) covering the spectrum of AD and SVD, including genetically defined samples. We calculated diffusion measures from DTI and free water imaging. Simple linear, multivariable random forest, and voxel-based regressions were used to evaluate associations between AD biomarkers (amyloid beta, tau), SVD imaging markers, and diffusion measures. Results: SVD markers were strongly associated with diffusion measures and showed a higher contribution than AD biomarkers in multivariable analysis across all memory clinic samples. Voxel-wise analyses between tau and diffusion measures were not significant. Discussion: In memory clinic patients, the effect of SVD on diffusion alterations largely exceeds the effect of AD, supporting the value of diffusion measures as markers of SVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1504-1514
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarker
  • cerebral small vessel disease
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • free water imaging
  • white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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