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Neurology. 2012 May 29;78(22):1769-76. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182583047. Epub 2012 May 16.

Family history of Alzheimer disease predicts hippocampal atrophy in healthy middle-aged adults.

Author information

  • 1Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the longitudinal influence of family history (FH) of Alzheimer disease (AD) and apolipoprotein E ε4 allele (APOE4) on brain atrophy and cognitive decline over 4 years among asymptomatic middle-aged individuals.

METHODS:

Participants were cognitively healthy adults with (FH+) (n = 60) and without (FH-) (n = 48) a FH of AD (mean age at baseline 54 years) enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention. They underwent APOE genotyping, cognitive testing, and an MRI scan at baseline and 4 years later. A covariate-adjusted voxel-based analysis interrogated gray matter (GM) modulated probability maps at the 4-year follow-up visit as a function of FH and APOE4. We also examined the influence of parent of origin on GM atrophy. Parallel analyses investigated the effects of FH and APOE4 on cognitive decline.

RESULTS:

Neither FH nor APOE4 had an effect on regional GM or cognition at baseline. Longitudinally, a FH × APOE4 interaction was found in the right posterior hippocampus, which was driven by a significant difference between the FH+ and FH- subjects who were APOE4-. In addition, a significant FH main effect was observed in the left posterior hippocampus. No significant APOE4 main effects were detected. Persons with a maternal history of AD were just as likely as those with a paternal history of AD to experience posterior hippocampal atrophy. There was no longitudinal decline in cognition within the cohort.

CONCLUSION:

Over a 4-year interval, asymptomatic middle-aged adults with FH of AD exhibit significant atrophy in the posterior hippocampi in the absence of measurable cognitive changes. This result provides further evidence that detectable disease-related neuroanatomic changes do occur early in the AD pathologic cascade.

PMID:
22592366
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3359586
Free PMC Article

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