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Cognitive and metabolic responses to metrifonate therapy in Alzheimer disease.

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Department of Neurology, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, 90095-1769, USA.



The objective of this study was to identify the relation between the cognitive benefit seen with the cholinesterase inhibitor metrifonate and changes in brain metabolism as visualized with [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).


The regional metabolic correlates of treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors are poorly understood.


Six patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD) were evaluated before and after treatment with the long-lasting cholinesterase inhibitor metrifonate. Patients were given 60 or 80 mg of metrifonate per day (based on weight) for 6 to 12 weeks. Clinical evaluations included the cognitive portion of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Imaging was carried out using FDG-PET. The PET studies, registered to a probabilistic anatomic atlas, were normalized across the group's mean intensity levels and subjected to voxel-by-voxel subtraction of the posttreatment minus pretreatment studies. Subvolume thresholding corrected random lobar noise to produce a three-dimensional functional significance map.


The criteria for cognitive improvement with treatment were met for the MMSE (>2 points improvement from baseline), and the drawing subscale of the ADAS-cog was significantly improved with treatment. The three-dimensional significance map revealed a significant metabolic increase of the dorsolateral frontoparietal network on the left and bilateral temporal cortex with metrifonate treatment.


The clinical benefits observed in AD with cholinesterase inhibitor therapy are associated with a metabolic increase of heteromodal cognitive and medial temporal networks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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