Diagnostic value of event-related evoked potentials N200 and P300 subcomponents in early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 Oct;24(5):405-12. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e31815068d5.


Event-related potentials (ERPs) have a large application in the evaluation of cognitive processes, particularly in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical relevance of event-related evoked potentials (N2 and P3 subcomponents) in early diagnosis of AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). We prospectively studied 60 subjects. They all underwent the following investigations: neurologic and neuropsychological examination; functional evaluation, i.e., ERPs; cerebral imagery (morphologic and functional). Subjects were classified into 3 groups: group 1: 30 dementia of Alzheimer type (NINCDS-ADRDA, DSM-IV criteria); group 2: 20 MCI; and group 3: 10 control subjects. ERPs were significantly different between the groups (AD, MCI, control subjects), with a marked increase of P3 latencies, particularly when compared with N2 latencies (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, sensitivity was 87% to 95% for the differentiation of AD patients from MCI and control subjects, using prolonged P3 latencies (specificity, 90% to 95%), whereas using N2 prolonged latencies, sensitivity was 70% to 75% (specificity, 70% to 90%). Moreover, in the MCI group, N2 latencies strongly discriminated MCI from control subjects, with 90% sensitivity and 70% specificity and correctly categorized 80% of MCI subjects against 73% for P3. The abnormalities of N2 and P3 components may be linked, in AD and MCI, to an alteration of automatic and controlled attention processing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity