NODDI-derived measures of microstructural integrity in medial temporal lobe white matter pathways are associated with Alzheimer's disease pathology and cognitive outcomes

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2023 Oct 16:2023.10.11.561946. doi: 10.1101/2023.10.11.561946.


Introduction: Diffusion tensor imaging has been used to assess white matter (WM) changes in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the tensor model is necessarily limited by its assumptions. Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI) can offer insights into microstructural features of WM change. We assessed whether NODDI more sensitively detects AD-related changes in medial temporal lobe WM than traditional tensor metrics.

Methods: Standard diffusion and NODDI metrics were calculated for medial temporal WM tracts from 199 older adults drawn from ADNI3 who also received PET to measure pathology and neuropsychological testing.

Results: NODDI measures in medial temporal tracts were more strongly correlated to cognitive performance and pathology than standard measures. The combination of NODDI and standard metrics exhibited the strongest prediction of cognitive performance in random forest analyses.

Conclusions: NODDI metrics offer additional insights into contributions of WM degeneration to cognitive outcomes in the aging brain.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging; aging; amyloid-beta; diffusion tensor imaging; memory; tau; white matter.

Publication types

  • Preprint