Functional signature of conversion of patients with mild cognitive impairment.
The entorhinal-hippocampal circuit is a strategic hub for cognition and the first site affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD). We investigated magnetic resonance imaging patterns of brain atrophy and functional connectivity in an Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative data set that included healthy controls, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and patients with AD. Individuals with MCI were clinically evaluated 24 months after the first magnetic resonance imaging scan, and the cohort subdivided into sets of individuals who either did or did not convert to AD. The MCI group was also divided into patients who did show or not the presence of AD-related alterations in the cerebrospinal fluid. Patients with AD exhibited the collapse of the long-range hippocampal/entorhinal connectivity, pronounced cortical/subcortical atrophy, and a dramatic decline in cognitive performances. Patients with MCI who converted to AD or patients with MCI who showed the presence of AD-related alterations in the cerebrospinal fluid showed memory deficits, entorhinal/hippocampal hypoconnectivity, and concomitant atrophy of the two regions. Patients with MCI who did not convert to AD or patients with MCI who did not show the presence of AD-related alterations in the cerebrospinal fluid had no atrophy but showed hippocampal/entorhinal hyperconnectivity with selected neocortical/subcortical regions involved in memory processing and brain metastability. This hyperconnectivity may represent a compensatory strategy against the progression of cognitive impairment.
Delli Pizzi, S; Punzi, M; Sensi, SL; Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative,
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