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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2018 Jul 18;9(7):1849-1857. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00194. Epub 2018 May 15.

Increased Iron Deposition on Brain Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping Correlates with Decreased Cognitive Function in Alzheimer's Disease.

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Department of Radiology , China-Japan Friendship Hospital , Beijing 100029 , China.
Department of Anesthesiology , China-Japan Friendship Hospital , Beijing 100029 , China.
Anatomy Department , Changzhi Medical College , Changzhi , 046000 Shanxi China.
Department of Imaging , ANHUI Provincial Hospital , Hefei , 230000 Anhui China.
Department of Science and Education , Shangluo Central Hospital , Shangluo 726000 , China.
Department of Nuclear Medicine , Xuanwu Hospital , Beijing 100053 , China.
GE Healthcare , MR Research , Beijing 100176 , China.
Department of Neurology , China-Japan Friendship Hospital , Beijing 100029 , China.


The excessive accumulation of iron in deep gray structures is an important pathological characteristic in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is more specific than other imaging-based iron measurement modalities and allows noninvasive assessment of tissue magnetic susceptibility, which has been shown to correlate well with brain iron levels. This study aimed to investigate the correlations between the magnetic susceptibility values of deep gray matter nuclei and the cognitive functions assessed by mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) in patients with mild and moderate AD. Thirty subjects with mild and moderate AD and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were scanned with a 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. The magnetic susceptibilities of the regions of interest (ROIs), including caudate nucleus (Cd), putamen (Pt), globus pallidus (Gp), thalamus (Th), red nucleus (Rn), substantia nigra (Sn), and dentate nucleus (Dn), were quantified by QSM. We found that the susceptibility values of the bilateral Cd and Pt were significantly higher in AD patients than the controls ( P < 0.05). In contrast, bilateral Rn had significantly lower susceptibility values in AD than the controls. Regardless of gender and age, the increase of magnetic susceptibility in the left Cd was significantly correlated with the decrease of MMSE scores and MoCA scores ( P < 0.05). Our study indicated that magnetic susceptibility value of left Cd could be potentially used as a biomarker of disease severity in mild and moderate AD.


Alzheimer’s disease; Montreal cognitive assessment; cognitive function; deep gray matter nuclei; mini-mental state examination; quantitative susceptibility mapping

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