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Tract-specific white matter hyperintensities disrupt neural network Q1 function in Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer's and Dementia. 2016 July 15. pii: S1552-5260(16)32660-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.06.2358. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Taylor AN, Kambeitz-Ilankovic L, Gesierich B, Simon-Vermot L, Franzmeier N, Araque Caballero MÁ, Müller S, Hesheng L, Ertl-Wagner B, Bürger K, Weiner MW, Dichgans M, Duering M, Ewers M; Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
Publication Date: 2016




White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Whether WMHs are associated with the decline of functional neural networks in AD is debated.


Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and WMH were assessed in 78 subjects with increased amyloid levels on AV-45 positron emission tomography (PET) in different clinical stages of AD. We tested the association between WMH volume in major atlas-based fiber tract Q6 ROIs and changes in functional connectivity (FC) between the tracts’ projection areas within the default mode network (DMN).


WMH volume within the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) was the highest among all tract ROIs and associated with reduced FC in IFOF-connected DMN areas, independently of global AV-45 PET. Higher AV-45 PET contributed to reduced FC in IFOF-connected, temporal, and parietal DMN areas.


High fiber tract WMH burden is associated with reduced FC in connected areas, thus adding to the effects of amyloid pathology on neuronal network function.



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