Aβ deposition is a driving force of Alzheimer's disease pathology and can be detected early by amyloid positron emission tomography. Identifying presymptomatic structural brain changes associated with Aβ deposition might lead to a better understanding of its consequences and provide early diagnostic information. In this respect we analyzed measures of cortical thickness and subcortical volumes along with hippocampal, thalamic and striatal shape and surface area by applying novel analysis strategies for structural magnetic resonance imaging. We included 69 cognitively normal elderly subjects after careful clinical and neuropsychological workup. Standardized uptake value ratios (cerebellar reference) for uptake of 11-C-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) were calculated from positron emission tomographic data for a cortical measurement and for bilateral hippocampus, thalamus and striatum. Associations to shape, surface area, volume and cortical thickness were tested using regression models that included significant predictors as covariates. Left anterior hippocampal shape was associated with regional PiB uptake (P < 0.05, FDR corrected), whereas volumes of the hippocampi and their subregions were not associated with cortical or regional PiB uptake (all P > 0.05, FDR corrected). Within the entorhinal cortical region of both hemispheres, thickness was negatively associated with cortical PiB uptake (P < 0.05, FDR corrected). Hence, localized shape measures and cortical thickness may be potential biomarkers of presymptomatic Alzheimer's disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; beta-amyloid; hippocampal shape; magnetic resonance imaging; positron emission tomography.
© 2016 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.