Increased number of microinfarcts in Alzheimer disease at 7-T MR imaging

Radiology. 2014 Jan;270(1):205-11. doi: 10.1148/radiol.13130743. Epub 2013 Oct 28.


Purpose: To assess the prevalence and number of cortical microinfarcts in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) by using a 7-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging system, to assess the independent association of cortical microinfarcts with cognitive dysfunction, and to investigate potential confounding effects of the coexisting presence of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA).

Materials and methods: The local institutional review board approved this study. In all cases, informed consent was obtained. High-spatial-resolution fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and T2*-weighted images were acquired in 14 AD patients and 18 control subjects to assess the presence of microinfarcts and microbleeds. Presence of CAA was assessed according to the Boston criteria. Image analysis was performed independently by two reviewers. Mann-Whitney U test was performed to assess differences in number of microinfarcts between groups. Negative binomial regression models were used to assess the association between diagnosis of AD and diagnosis of CAA and number of microinfarcts, between diagnosis of AD and number of microbleeds and number of microinfarcts, and between cognitive function and number of microinfarcts, all corrected for age and sex.

Results: Interobserver agreement was excellent for detecting microinfarcts (κ = 0.91) (P < .001). Patients with AD demonstrated higher number (P = .005) of microinfarcts (mean, 7.2) compared with control subjects (mean, 1.8). Negative binomial regression models showed an independent association between AD and number of microinfarcts (P = .006) and a trend for CAA and microinfarcts (P = .052). A negative correlation was found between cognitive function and the number of microinfarcts (P = .009).

Conclusion: Patients with AD show more microinfarcts than do control subjects, the number of microinfarcts correlates with global cognitive performance, and the presence of microinfarcts was mainly AD rather than CAA related.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Infarction / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence