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Cortical microstructural correlates of astrocytosis in autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease


Vilaplana, Eduard et al. (2020), Cortical microstructural correlates of astrocytosis in autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease, Dryad, Dataset,


Objective To study the macrostructural and microstructural MRI correlates of brain astrocytosis, measured with 11C-deuterium-L-deprenyl (11C-DED)–PET, in familial autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease (ADAD).

Methods The total sample (n = 31) comprised ADAD mutation carriers (n = 10 presymptomatic, 39.2 ± 10.6 years old; n = 3 symptomatic, 55.5 ± 2.0 years old) and noncarriers (n = 18, 44.0 ± 13.7 years old) belonging to families with mutations in either the presenilin-1 or amyloid precursor protein genes. All participants underwent structural and diffusion MRI and neuropsychological assessment, and 20 participants (6 presymptomatic and 3 symptomatic mutation carriers and 11 noncarriers) also underwent 11C-DED-PET.

Results Vertex-wise interaction analyses revealed a differential relationship between carriers and noncarriers in the association between 11C-DED binding and estimated years to onset (EYO) and between cortical mean diffusivity (MD) and EYO. These differences were due to higher 11C-DED binding in presymptomatic carriers, with lower binding in symptomatic carriers compared to noncarriers, and to lower cortical MD in presymptomatic carriers, with higher MD in symptomatic carriers compared to noncarriers. Using a vertex-wise local correlation approach, 11C-DED binding was negatively correlated with cortical MD and positively correlated with cortical thickness.

Conclusions Our proof-of-concept study is the first to show that microstructural and macrostructural changes can reflect underlying neuroinflammatory mechanisms in early stages of Alzheimer disease (AD). The findings support a role for neuroinflammation in AD pathogenesis, with potential implications for the correct interpretation of neuroimaging biomarkers as surrogate endpoints in clinical trials.

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