Associations between amyloid β and white matter hyperintensities: A systematic review

Alzheimers Dement. 2017 Oct;13(10):1154-1167. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2017.01.026. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Introduction: This systematic review synthesizes current evidence for associations between cortical amyloid β, visualized on amyloid positron emission tomography imaging, and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden on magnetic resonance imaging in healthy elderly adults and individuals with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Methods: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) systematic review guidelines, we systematically searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, and PsycINFO databases from January 2000 to September 2015.

Results: Our search returned 492 articles, 34 of which met criteria for inclusion in the final selection. Most studies reported no significant relationships between amyloid β and WMH burden across diagnostic groups.

Discussion: Findings of this systematic review suggest that amyloid accumulation and WMH are independent but additive processes. The limited number of independent cohorts, lack of longitudinal data, and exclusion of individuals with mixed dementia limit the generalizability of these findings. Further studies are required to elucidate the putative contributions of vascular processes to neurodegenerative pathology.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid; Dementia; Systematic review; White matter disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • White Matter / metabolism
  • White Matter / pathology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides