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Neurol Res Int. 2012;2012:517876. doi: 10.1155/2012/517876. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

DTI and MR Volumetry of Hippocampus-PC/PCC Circuit: In Search of Early Micro- and Macrostructural Signs of Alzheimers's Disease.

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Neuroradiology Unit, IRCCS Foundation National Neurological Institute C. Mondino, 27100 Pavia, Italy.


Hippocampal damage, by DTI or MR volumetry, and PET hypoperfusion of precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PC/PCC) were proposed as biomarkers of conversion from preclinical (MCI) to clinical stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study evaluated structural damage, by DTI and MR volumetry, of hippocampi and tracts connecting hippocampus to PC/PCC (hipp-PC/PCC) in 10 AD, 10 MCI, and 18 healthy controls (CTRL). Normalized volumes, mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA) were obtained for grey matter (GM), white matter (WM), hippocampi, PC/PCC, and hipp-PC/PCC tracts. In hippocampi and hipp-PC/PCC tracts, decreased volumes and increased MD were found in AD versus CTRL (P < .001). The same results with lower significance (P < .05) were found in MCI versus CTRL. Verbal memory correlated (P < .05) in AD with left hippocampal and hipp-PC/PCC tract MD, and in MCI with FA of total WM. Both DTI and MR volumetry of hippocampi and hipp-PC/PCC tracts detect early signs of AD in MCI patients.

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