White matter hyperintensities and medial temporal lobe atrophy in clinical subtypes of mild cognitive impairment: the DESCRIPA study

van de Pol, L. A.; Verhey, F.; Frisoni, G. B.; Tsolaki, M.; Papapostolou, P.; Nobili, F.; Wahlund, L.-O.; Minthon, L.; Frölich, L.; Hampel, H.; Soininen, H.; Knol, D. L.; Barkhof, F.; Scheltens, P.; Visser, P. J.
October 2009
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry;Oct2009, Vol. 80 Issue 10, p10
Academic Journal
Background: Clinical subtypes of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may represent different underlying aetiologies. Methods: This European, multicentre, memory clinic based study (DESCRIPA) of non-demented subjects investigated whether MCI subtypes have different brain correlates on MRI and whether the relation between subtypes and brain pathology is modified by age. Using visual rating scales, medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) (0-4) and white matter hyperintensities (WMH) (0-30) were assessed. Results: Severity of MTA differed between MCI subtypes (p<0.001), increasing from a mean of 0.8 (SD 0.7) in subjective complaints (n = 77) to 1.3 (0.8) in non-amnestic MCI (n = 93), and from 1.4 (0.9) in single domain amnestic MCI (n = 70) to 1.7 (0.9) in multiple domain amnestic MCI (n = 89). The association between MCI subtype and MTA was modified by age and mainly present in subjects >70 years of age. Severity of WMH did not differ between MCI subtypes (p = 0.21). However, the combination of MTA and WMH differed between MCI subtypes (p = 0.02) Conclusion: We conclude that MCI subtypes may have different brain substrates, especially in older subjects. Isolated MTA was mainly associated with amnestic MCI subtypes, suggesting AD as the underlying cause. In non-amnestic MCI, the relatively higher prevalence of MTA in combination with WMH may suggest a different pathophysiological origin


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