Parietal cortex matters in Alzheimer's disease: an overview of structural, functional and metabolic findings

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jan;36(1):297-309. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Jun 30.


Atrophy of the medial temporal lobe, especially the hippocampus and the parahippocampal gyrus, is considered to be the most predictive structural brain biomarker for Alzheimer's Dementia (AD). However, recent neuroimaging studies reported a possible mismatch between structural and metabolic findings, showing medial temporal lobe atrophy and medial parietal hypoperfusion as biomarkers for AD. The role of the parietal lobe in the development of AD is only recently beginning to attract attention. The current review discusses parietal lobe involvement in the early stages of AD, viz. mild cognitive impairment, as reported from structural, functional, perfusion and metabolic neuroimaging studies. The medial and posterior parts of the parietal lobe seem to be preferentially affected, compared to the other parietal lobe parts. On the basis of the reviewed literature we propose a model showing the relationship between the various pathological events, as measured by different neuroimaging techniques, in the development of AD. In this model myelin breakdown is a beginning of the chain of pathological events leading to AD pathology and an AD diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parietal Lobe* / diagnostic imaging
  • Parietal Lobe* / metabolism
  • Parietal Lobe* / pathology
  • PubMed / statistics & numerical data
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Retrospective Studies