Postmortem MRI and histopathology of white matter changes in Alzheimer brains. A quantitative, comparative study

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2002;13(4):205-12. doi: 10.1159/000057698.


To evaluate whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of white matter changes in Alzheimer's disease either under- or overestimates the findings on neuropathology. Postmortem MRI and neuropathological examination were performed on 6 brains from elderly individuals with a postmortem diagnosis of AD. Using a specially designed brain slicer, the brains were cut corresponding to the MRI images, and stained by Luxol Fast Blue. Quantitative analysis of white matter changes on MRI and neuropathology was performed using stereological principles. Measures from MRI and pathology were highly correlated (r(2) = 0.71). However, pathology showed significantly more extensive changes than did MRI in all cases, with a mean of 54% larger areas. The lesions not identified with MRI represented, however, only minor changes with lower intensity of myelin staining and with an accentuation of the distance between fibres but with preserved axonal network and glial cell density.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Postmortem Changes*