Apolipoprotein E-dependent load of white matter hyperintensities in Alzheimer's disease: a voxel-based lesion mapping study.

White matter (WM) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) hyperintensities are common in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but their pathophysiological relevance and relationship to genetic factors are unclear. In the present study, we investigated potential apolipoprotein E (APOE)-dependent effects on the extent and cognitive impact of WM hyperintensities in patients with AD.
WM hyperintensity volume on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images of 201 patients with AD (128 carriers and 73 non-carriers of the APOE ε4 risk allele) was determined globally as well as regionally with voxel-based lesion mapping. Clinical, neuropsychological and MRI data were collected from prospective multicenter trials conducted by the German Dementia Competence Network.
WM hyperintensity volume was significantly greater in non-carriers of the APOE ε4 allele. Lesion distribution was similar among ε4 carriers and non-carriers. Only ε4 non-carriers showed a correlation between lesion volume and cognitive performance.
The current findings indicate an increased prevalence of WM hyperintensities in non-carriers compared with carriers of the APOE ε4 allele among patients with AD. This is consistent with a possibly more pronounced contribution of heterogeneous vascular risk factors to WM damage and cognitive impairment in patients with AD without APOE ε4-mediated risk.
AuthorsKatrin Morgen, Michael Schneider, Lutz Frölich, Heike Tost, Michael M Plichta, Heike Kölsch, Fabian Rakebrandt, Otto Rienhoff, Frank Jessen, Oliver Peters, Holger Jahn, Christian Luckhaus, Michael Hüll, Hermann-Josef Gertz, Johannes Schröder, Harald Hampel, Stefan J Teipel, Johannes Pantel, Isabella Heuser, Jens Wiltfang, Eckart Rüther, Johannes Kornhuber, Wolfgang Maier, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg
JournalAlzheimer's research & therapy (Alzheimers Res Ther) Vol. 7 Issue 1 Pg. 27 ( 2015) ISSN: 1758-9193 [Electronic] England
PMID25984242 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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