White matter microstructural abnormalities in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A meta-analysis of whole-brain and ROI-based studies

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Dec:83:405-416. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.10.026. Epub 2017 Oct 29.


Studies that examined white matter (WM) alterations in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) abound. This timely meta-analysis aims to synthesize the results of these studies. Seventy-seven studies (totalNaMCI=1844) were included. Fourteen region-of-interest-based (ROI-based) (k≥8;NaMCI≥284 per ROI) and two activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analyses (fractional anisotropy [FA]: k=15;NaMCI=463; mean diffusivity [MD]: k=8;NaMCI=193) were carried out. Among the many significant ROI-related findings, reliable FA and MD alterations in the fornix, uncinate fasciculus, and parahippocampal cingulum were observed in aMCI. Larger effects were observed in MD relative to FA. The ALE meta-analysis revealed a significant FA decrease among aMCI subjects in the posterior corona radiata. These results provide robust evidence of the presence of WM abnormalities in aMCI. Our findings also highlight the importance of carrying out both ROI-based and whole-brain-based research to obtain a complete picture of WM microstructural alterations associated with the condition..

Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Aging; DTI; Meta-analysis; Mild cognitive impairment; White matter.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Humans
  • Leukoencephalopathies / diagnostic imaging
  • Leukoencephalopathies / etiology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*