Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging: A Possible MRI Biomarker for AD Diagnosis?

J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;48(4):937-48. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150253.


The purpose of this explorative study was to investigate whether diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) parameter changes are reliable measures of white matter integrity changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients using a whole brain voxel-based analysis (VBA). Therefore, age- and gender-matched patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD (n = 18), dementia due to AD (n = 19), and age-matched cognitively healthy controls (n = 14) were prospectively included. The magnetic resonance imaging protocol included routine structural brain imaging and DKI. Datasets were transformed to a population-specific atlas space. Groups were compared using VBA. Differences in diffusion and mean kurtosis measures between MCI and AD patients and controls were shown, and were mainly found in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the corona radiata. Hence, DTI and DKI parameter changes are suggestive of white matter changes in AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; biomarker; diffusion kurtosis imaging; diffusion tensor imaging; early diagnosis; magnetic resonance imaging; mild cognitive impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • White Matter / pathology


  • Biomarkers