MRI-based volumetric measurement of the substantia innominata in amnestic MCI and mild AD

Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Oct;32(10):1756-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.11.006. Epub 2009 Dec 14.


The substantia innominata (SI) contains the nucleus basalis of Meynert, which provides the major cholinergic innervation to the entire cortical mantel and the amygdala; degeneration of nucleus basalis neurons correlates with cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, whether SI atrophy occurs in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) has not been examined thoroughly in vivo. In the present study, we developed a new protocol to measure volumetric changes in the SI from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Participants consisted of 27 elderly controls with no cognitive impairment (NCI); 33 individuals with aMCI; and 19 patients with mild AD. SI volumes were traced on three consecutive gapless 1mm thick coronal slices. Results showed that SI volume was significantly reduced in the mild AD group compared to both NCI and aMCI participants; however, the NCI and aMCI groups did not differ from each other. Furthermore, a decrease in SI volume was related to impaired performance on declarative memory tasks even when attention was controlled.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Amnesia / complications
  • Amnesia / diagnosis*
  • Amnesia / genetics
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Substantia Innominata / pathology*


  • Apolipoprotein E4