White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are markers of cerebral small vessel disease and are associated with higher risk of typical amnestic Alzheimer's disease (tAD). Little is known about the frequency and distribution of WMH in atypical variants of AD, including logopenic progressive aphasia (LPA) and posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). We investigated WMHs in 75 LPA, 39 PCA, and 50 tAD patients and associations with age, beta-amyloid PET burden, and cognition. PCA had greater subcortical WMHs in right occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes compared to LPA, and greater parieto-occipital subcortical and occipital periventricular WMHs than tAD. LPA had greater subcortical WMHs in left parietal lobe and deep white matter WMHs than PCA, and greater fronto-occipital subcortical and occipital periventricular WMHs than tAD. Total WMH increased with increasing age but was not related to beta-amyloid burden. Greater WMH was associated with visuoperceptual performance in LPA and PCA after correcting for atrophy. WMH topography differs across AD variants. Further work is needed to determine whether they reflect cerebrovascular disease or regionally specific neurodegenerative changes.
Keywords: Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery; Logopenic progressive aphasia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Posterior cortical atrophy; White matter hyperintensity.
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