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Front Neurol. 2017 Aug 15;8:399. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00399. eCollection 2017.

Subregional Structural Alterations in Hippocampus and Nucleus Accumbens Correlate with the Clinical Impairment in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Spectrum: Parallel Combining Volume and Vertex-Based Approach.

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State Key laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Sciences and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
Institute of Cancer and Genetic Science, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Department of Neurology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China.
Department of Radiology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China.
Department of Neurology, Memory Clinic, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Motol University Hospital, Prague, Czechia.
International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne's University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic.


Deep gray matter structures are associated with memory and other important functions that are impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, systematic characterization of the subregional atrophy and deformations in these structures in AD and MCI still need more investigations. In this article, we combined complex volumetry- and vertex-based analysis to investigate the pattern of subregional structural alterations in deep gray matter structures and its association with global clinical scores in AD (n = 30) and MCI patients (n = 30), compared to normal controls (NCs, n = 30). Among all seven pairs of structures, the bilateral hippocampi and nucleus accumbens showed significant atrophy in AD compared with NCs (p < 0.05). But only the subregional atrophy in the dorsal-medial part of the left hippocampus, the ventral part of right hippocampus, and the left nucleus accumbens, the posterior part of the right nucleus accumbens correlated with the worse clinical scores of MMSE and MOCA (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the medial-ventral part of right thalamus significantly shrank and correlated with clinical scores without decreasing in its whole volume (p > 0.05). In conclusion, the atrophy of these four subregions in bilateral hippocampi and nucleus accumbens was associated with cognitive impairment of patients, which might be potential target regions of treatment in AD. The surface analysis could provide additional information to volume comparison in finding the early pathological progress in deep gray matter structures.


Alzheimer’s disease; deep gray matter structures; mild cognitive impairment; surface alteration; vertex analysis

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