Background: Different clinical syndromes can arise from Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology, including dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT), logopenic primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA), and posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).
Objective: To assess similarities and differences in patterns of white matter tract degeneration across these syndromic variants of AD.
Methods: Sixty-four subjects (22 DAT, 24 lvPPA, and 18 PCA) that had diffusion tensor imaging and showed amyloid-β deposition on PET were assessed in this case-control study. A whole-brain voxel-based analysis was performed to assess differences in fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity across groups.
Results: All three groups showed overlapping diffusion abnormalities in a network of tracts, including fornix, corpus callosum, posterior thalamic radiations, superior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and uncinate fasciculus. Subtle regional differences were also observed across groups, with DAT particularly associated with degeneration of fornix and cingulum, lvPPA with left inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and uncinate fasciculus, and PCA with posterior thalamic radiations, superior longitudinal fasciculus, posterior cingulate, and splenium of the corpus callosum.
Conclusion: These findings show that while each AD phenotype is associated with degeneration of a specific structural network of white matter tracts, striking spatial overlap exists among the three network patterns that may be related to AD pathology.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; diffusion tensor imaging; logopenic; posterior cortical atrophy; white matter.