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1.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple System Atrophy and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: A Tract-Based Spatial Statistics Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112638.
Although often clinically indistinguishable in the early stages, Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) have distinct neuropathological changes. The aim of the current study was to identify white matter tract neurodegeneration characteristic of each of the three syndromes. Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was used to perform a whole-brain automated analysis of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data to compare differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) between the three clinical groups and healthy control subjects. Further analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between these putative indices of white matter microstructure and clinical measures of disease severity and symptoms. In PSP, relative to controls, changes in DTI indices consistent with white matter tract degeneration were identified in the corpus callosum, corona radiata, corticospinal tract, superior longitudinal fasciculus, anterior thalamic radiation, superior cerebellar peduncle, medial lemniscus, retrolenticular and anterior limb of the internal capsule, cerebral peduncle and external capsule bilaterally, as well as the left posterior limb of the internal capsule and the right posterior thalamic radiation. MSA patients also displayed differences in the body of the corpus callosum corticospinal tract, cerebellar peduncle, medial lemniscus, anterior and superior corona radiata, posterior limb of the internal capsule external capsule and cerebral peduncle bilaterally, as well as the left anterior limb of the internal capsule and the left anterior thalamic radiation. No significant white matter abnormalities were observed in the PD group. Across groups, MD correlated positively with disease severity in all major white matter tracts. These results show widespread changes in white matter tracts in both PSP and MSA patients, even at a mid-point in the disease process, which are not found in patients with PD.
PMCID: PMC4236070  PMID: 25405990
2.  Disrupted thalamocortical connectivity in PSP: a resting state fMRI, DTI, VBM study 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2011;17(8):599-605.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is associated with pathological changes along the dentatorubrothalamic tract and in premotor cortex. We aimed to assess whether functional neural connectivity is disrupted along this pathway in PSP, and to determine how functional changes relate to changes in structure and diffusion. Eighteen probable PSP subjects and 18 controls had resting-state (task-free) fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging and structural MRI. Functional connectivity was assessed between thalamus and the rest of the brain, and within the basal ganglia, salience and default mode networks (DMN). Patterns of atrophy were assessed using voxel-based morphometry, and patterns of white matter tract degeneration were assessed using tract-based spatial statistics. Reduced in-phase functional connectivity was observed between the thalamus and premotor cortex including supplemental motor area (SMA), striatum, thalamus and cerebellum in PSP. Reduced connectivity in premotor cortex, striatum and thalamus were observed in the basal ganglia network and DMN, with subcortical salience network reductions. Tract degeneration was observed between cerebellum and thalamus and in superior longitudinal fasciculus, with grey matter loss in frontal lobe, premotor cortex, SMA and caudate. SMA functional connectivity correlated with SMA volume and measures of cognitive and motor dysfunction, while thalamic connectivity correlated with degeneration of superior cerebellar peduncles. PSP is therefore associated with disrupted thalamocortical connectivity that is associated with degeneration of the dentatorubrothalamic tract and the presence of cortical atrophy.
PMCID: PMC3168952  PMID: 21665514
Resting state fMRI; functional connectivity; white matter tracts; atrophy; dentatorubrothalamic tract
3.  Diffusion tensor imaging and voxel based morphometry study in early progressive supranuclear palsy 
A comprehensive characterisation of grey and white matter changes in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), the second most common extrapyramidal syndrome after Parkinson disease, is still not available.
To evaluate grey and white matter changes in mild PSP patients by voxel based morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), respectively.
14 mild PSP patients and 14 healthy controls entered the study and underwent a clinical and neuropsychological evaluation according with a standardised assessment. Each subject had a structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study. Processing analysis of MRI data was carried out according to optimised VBM and fractional anisotropy was determined.
Compared with the controls, in PSP patients VBM analysis showed a significant clusters of reduced grey matter in premotor cortex, frontal operculum, anterior insula, hippocampus, and parahippocampal gyrus, bilaterally. With regard to subcortical brain regions, the pulvinar, dorsomedial and anterior nuclei of the thalamus, and superior and inferior culliculum were affected bilaterally. A bilateral decrease in fractional anisotropy in superior longitudinal fasciculus, anterior part of corpus callosum, arcuate fascicolus, posterior thalamic radiations, and internal capsule, probably involving the cortico‐bulbar tracts, was present in PSP patients.
These data provide evidence for both grey and white matter degeneration in PSP from the early disease stage. These structural changes suggest that atrophy of cortical and subcortical structures and neurodegeneration of specific fibre tracts contribute to neurological deficits in PSP.
PMCID: PMC2077489  PMID: 16306152
progressive supranuclear palsy; magnetic resonance imaging; voxel based morphometry; diffusion tensor imaging
4.  Selective frontal neurodegeneration of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) demonstrated by diffusion tensor tractography 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:13.
The clinical presentation in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), an atypical parkinsonian disorder, includes varying degrees of frontal dysexecutive symptoms. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tractography (DTT), we investigated whether diffusion changes and atrophy of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO) occurs in PSP and if these changes correlate with disease stage and clinical phenotype. The corticospinal tract (CST), which is often involved in PSP, was investigated for comparison.
DTI of the whole brain was performed with a 3 T MR scanner using a single shot-EPI sequence with diffusion encoding in 48 directions. Scans were obtained in patients with PSP (n = 13) and healthy age-matched controls (n = 12). DTT of the IFO and CST was performed with the PRIDE fibre tracking tool (Philips Medical System). Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were calculated and correlated with disease stage and clinical phenotype.
In patients with PSP, significantly decreased FA and increased ADC was found in the frontal part of IFO compared with the medial and occipital parts of IFO, as well as compared to controls. Four of the thirteen patients with PSP showed a marked decrease in the number of tracked voxels in the frontal part of IFO. These findings were most pronounced in patients with severe frontal cognitive symptoms, such as dysexecutive problems, apathy and personality change. There was a strong correlation (r2 = -0.84; p < 0,001) between disease stage and FA and ADC values in the CST.
DTT for identification of neuronal tracts with subsequent measurement of FA and ADC is a useful diagnostic tool for demonstrating patterns of neuronal tract involvement in neurodegenerative disease. In selected tracts, FA and ADC values might act as surrogate markers for disease stage.
PMCID: PMC3041656  PMID: 21269463
5.  Assessment of Global and Regional Diffusion Changes along White Matter Tracts in Parkinsonian Disorders by MR Tractography 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66022.
The aim of the study was to determine the usefulness of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) in parkinsonian disorders using a recently developed method for normalization of diffusion data and tract size along white matter tracts. Furthermore, the use of DTT in selected white matter tracts for differential diagnosis was assessed.
We quantified global and regional diffusion parameters in major white matter tracts in patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), progressive nuclear palsy (PSP), idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) and healthy controls). Diffusion tensor imaging data sets with whole brain coverage were acquired at 3 T using 48 diffusion encoding directions and a voxel size of 2×2×2 mm3. DTT of the corpus callosum (CC), cingulum (CG), corticospinal tract (CST) and middle cerebellar peduncles (MCP) was performed using multiple regions of interest. Regional evaluation comprised projection of fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD) and the apparent area coefficient (AAC) onto a calculated mean tract and extraction of their values along each structure.
There were significant changes of global DTT parameters in the CST (MSA and PSP), CC (PSP) and CG (PSP). Consistent tract-specific variations in DTT parameters could be seen along each tract in the different patient groups and controls. Regional analysis demonstrated significant changes in the anterior CC (MD, RD and FA), CST (MD) and CG (AAC) of patients with PSP compared to controls. Increased MD in CC and CST, as well as decreased AAC in CG, was correlated with a diagnosis of PSP compared to IPD.
DTT can be used for demonstrating disease-specific regional white matter changes in parkinsonian disorders. The anterior portion of the CC was identified as a promising region for detection of neurodegenerative changes in patients with PSP, as well as for differential diagnosis between PSP and IPD.
PMCID: PMC3681971  PMID: 23785466
6.  Atlas-based white matter analysis in individuals with velo-cardio-facial syndrome (22q11.2 deletion syndrome) and unaffected siblings 
Velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS, MIM#192430, 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome) is a genetic disorder caused by a deletion of about 40 genes at the q11.2 band of one copy of chromosome 22. Individuals with VCFS present with deficits in cognition and social functioning, high risk of psychiatric disorders, volumetric reductions in gray and white matter (WM) and some alterations of the WM microstructure. The goal of the current study was to characterize the WM microstructural differences in individuals with VCFS and unaffected siblings, and the correlation of WM microstructure with neuropsychological performance. We hypothesized that individuals with VCFS would have decreased indices of WM microstructure (fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD)), particularly in WM tracts to the frontal lobe, and that these measures would be correlated with cognitive functioning.
Thirty-three individuals with VCFS (21 female) and 16 unaffected siblings (8 female) participated in DTI scanning and neuropsychological testing. We performed an atlas-based analysis, extracted FA, AD, and RD measures for 54 WM tracts (27 in each hemisphere) for each participant, and used MANOVAs to compare individuals with VCFS to siblings. For WM tracts that were statistically significantly different between VCFS and siblings (pFDR < 0.05), we assessed the correlations between DTI and neuropsychological measures.
In VCFS individuals as compared to unaffected siblings, we found decreased FA in the uncinate fasciculus, and decreased AD in multiple WM tracts (bilateral superior and posterior corona radiata, dorsal cingulum, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, superior cerebellar peduncle, posterior thalamic radiation, and left anterior corona radiata, retrolenticular part of the internal capsule, external capsule, sagittal stratum). We also found significant correlations of AD with measures of executive function, IQ, working memory, and/or social cognition.
Our results suggest that individuals with VCFS display abnormal WM connectivity in a widespread cerebro-anatomical network, involving tracts from/to all cerebral lobes and the cerebellum. Future studies could focus on the WM developmental trajectory in VCFS, the association of WM alterations with psychiatric disorders, and the effects of candidate 22q11.2 genes on WM anomalies.
PMCID: PMC3533822  PMID: 22853778
VCFS; 22q11.2 deletion; DTI; White matter; LDDMM
7.  Testing the white matter retrogenesis hypothesis of cognitive aging 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(8):1699-1715.
The retrogenesis hypothesis postulates that late-myelinated white matter fibers are most vulnerable to age- and disease-related degeneration, which in turn mediate cognitive decline. While recent evidence supports this hypothesis in the context of Alzheimer’s disease, it has not been tested systematically in normal cognitive aging.
In the current study, we examined the retrogenesis hypothesis in a group (n=282) of cognitively normal individuals ranging in age from 7 to 87 years from the Brain Resource International Database. Participants were evaluated with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and were imaged with diffusion tensor imaging. Fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (DA), measures of white matter coherence, were computed in two prototypical early-myelinated fiber tracts (posterior limb of the internal capsule, cerebral peduncles) and two prototypical late-myelinated fiber tracts (superior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus) chosen to parallel previous studies; mean summary values were also computed for other early- and late-myelinated fiber tracts. We examined age-associated differences in FA, RD, and DA in the developmental trajectory (ages 7 to 30 years) and degenerative trajectory (ages 31 to 87 years), and tested whether the measures of white matter coherence mediated age-related cognitive decline in the older group.
FA and DA values were greater for early-myelinated fibers than for late-myelinated fibers, and RD values were lower for early-myelinated than late-myelinated fibers. There were age-associated differences in FA, RD, and DA across early- and late-myelinated fiber tracts in the younger group, but the magnitude of differences did not vary as a function of early or late myelinating status. FA and RD in most fiber tracts showed reliable age-associated differences in the older age group, but the magnitudes were greatest for the late-myelinated tract summary measure, inferior longitudinal fasciculus (late fiber tract), and cerebral peduncles (early fiber tract). Finally, FA in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and cerebral peduncles and RD in the cerebral peduncles mediated age-associated differences in an executive functioning factor.
Taken together, the findings highlight the importance of white matter coherence in cognitive aging and provide some, but not complete, support for the white matter retrogenesis hypothesis in normal cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3222729  PMID: 21783280
MRI; diffusion tensor imaging; aging; cognition; retrogenesis; BRAINnet
8.  Gray and white matter water diffusion in the syndromic variants of frontotemporal dementia 
Neurology  2010;74(16):1279-1287.
To use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess gray matter and white matter tract diffusion in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), semantic dementia (SMD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA).
This was a case-control study where 16 subjects with bvFTD, 7 with PNFA, and 4 with SMD were identified and matched by age and gender to 19 controls. All subjects had 3-T head MRI with a DTI sequence with diffusion encoding in 21 directions. Gray matter mean diffusivity (MD) was assessed using a region-of-interest (ROI) and voxel-level approach, and voxel-based morphometry was used to assess patterns of gray matter loss. White matter tract diffusivity (fractional anisotropy and radial diffusivity) was assessed by placing ROIs on tracts of interest.
In bvFTD, increased gray matter MD and gray matter loss were identified bilaterally throughout frontal and temporal lobes, with abnormal diffusivity observed in white matter tracts that connect to these regions. In SMD, gray matter loss and increased MD were identified predominantly in the left temporal lobe, with tract abnormalities observed in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and uncinate fasciculus. In PNFA, gray matter loss and increased MD were observed in left inferior frontal lobe, insula, and supplemental motor area, with tract abnormalities observed in the superior longitudinal fasciculus.
The diffusivity of gray matter is increased in regions that are atrophic in frontotemporal dementia, suggesting disruption of the cytoarchitecture of remaining tissue. Furthermore, damage was identified in white matter tracts that interconnect these regions, supporting the hypothesis that these diseases involve different and specific brain networks.
= automated anatomic labeling;
= anterior cingulate;
= Alzheimer's Disease Research Center;
= Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry;
= apraxia of speech;
= behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia;
= coefficient of variation;
= axial diffusivity;
= radial diffusivity;
= diffusion tensor imaging;
= fractional anisotropy;
= false discovery rate;
= field of view;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= full-width at half-maximum;
= genu of the corpus callosum;
= high-dimensional warping;
= inferior longitudinal fasciculus;
= mean diffusivity;
= magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo;
= posterior cingulate;
= progressive nonfluent aphasia;
= partial volume correction;
= region of interest;
= superior longitudinal fasciculus;
= semantic dementia;
= uncinate fasciculus.
PMCID: PMC2860485  PMID: 20404309
9.  Dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer disease 
Neurology  2010;74(22):1814-1821.
To identify the patterns of diffusivity changes in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer disease (AD) and to determine whether diffusion tensor MRI (DTI) is complementary to structural MRI in depicting the tissue abnormalities characteristic of DLB and AD.
We studied clinically diagnosed age-, gender-, and education-matched subjects with DLB (n = 30), subjects with AD (n = 30), and cognitively normal (CN) subjects (n = 60) in a case-control study. DTI was performed at 3T with a fluid-attenuated inversion recovery–based DTI sequence that enabled cortical diffusion measurements. Mean diffusivity (MD) and gray matter (GM) density were measured from segmented cortical regions. Tract-based diffusivity was measured using color-coded fractional anisotropy (FA) maps.
Patients with DLB were characterized by elevated MD in the amygdala and decreased FA in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). ILF diffusivity was associated with the presence of visual hallucinations (p = 0.007), and amygdala diffusivity was associated with Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (r = 0.50; p = 0.005) in DLB. In contrast, patients with AD were characterized by elevated MD in the medial temporal, temporal, and parietal lobe association cortices and decreased FA in the fornix, cingulum, and ILF. Amygdala diffusivity was complementary to GM density in discriminating DLB from CN; hippocampal and parahippocampal diffusivity was complementary to GM density in discriminating AD from CN.
Increased amygdalar diffusivity in the absence of tissue loss in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) may be related to microvacuolation, a common pathology associated with Lewy body disease in the amygdala. Diffusivity measurements were complementary to structural MRI, demonstrating that measures of diffusivity on diffusion tensor MRI are valuable tools for characterizing the tissue abnormalities characteristic of Alzheimer disease and DLB.
= Alzheimer disease;
= cognitively normal;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= diffusion tensor MRI;
= fractional anisotropy;
= false discovery rate;
= fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
= gray matter;
= inferior longitudinal fasciculus;
= Lewy body;
= mean diffusivity;
= REM sleep behavior disorder;
= region of interest;
= superior longitudinal fasciculus;
= echo time;
= inversion time;
= repetition time;
= Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale;
= white matter.
PMCID: PMC2882217  PMID: 20513818
10.  Characteristics of progressive supranuclear palsy presenting with corticobasal syndrome: a cortical variant 
Since the first description of the classical presentation of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in 1963, now known as Richardson's syndrome (PSP-RS), several distinct clinical syndromes have been associated with PSP-tau pathology. Like other neurodegenerative disorders, the severity and distribution of phosphorylated tau pathology are closely associated with the clinical heterogeneity of PSP variants. PSP with corticobasal syndrome presentation (PSP-CBS) was reported to have more tau load in the mid-frontal and inferior-parietal cortices than in PSP-RS. However, it is uncertain if differences exist in the distribution of tau pathology in other brain regions or if the overall tau load is increased in the brains of PSP-CBS.
We sought to compare the clinical and pathological features of PSP-CBS and PSP-RS including quantitative assessment of tau load in 15 cortical, basal ganglia and cerebellar regions.
In addition to the similar age of onset and disease duration, we demonstrated that the overall severity of tau pathology was the same between PSP-CBS and PSP-RS. We identified that there was a shift of tau burden towards the cortical regions away from the basal ganglia; supporting the notion that PSP-CBS is a ‘cortical’ PSP variant. PSP-CBS also had less severe neuronal loss in the dorsolateral and ventrolateral subregions of the substantia nigra and more severe microglial response in the corticospinal tract than in PSP-RS; however, neuronal loss in subthalamic nucleus was equally severe in both groups.
A better understanding of the factors that influence the selective pathological vulnerability in different PSP variants will provide further insights into the neurodegenerative process underlying tauopathies.
PMCID: PMC4260147  PMID: 23432126
alien limb; corticobasal syndrome; progressive supranuclear palsy; Richardson's syndrome; tau
11.  White matter microstructural abnormalities in girls with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Fragile X or Turner syndrome as evidenced by diffusion tensor imaging 
NeuroImage  2013;81:441-454.
Children with chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS), Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), or Turner Syndrome (TS) are considered to belong to distinct genetic groups, as each disorder is caused by separate genetic alterations. Even so, they have similar cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in visuospatial and numerical abilities. To assess evidence for common underlying neural microstructural alterations, we set out to determine whether these groups have partially overlapping white matter abnormalities, relative to typically developing controls. We scanned 101 female children between 7 and 14 years old: 25 with 22q11.2DS, 18 with FXS, 17 with TS, and 41 aged-matched controls using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Anisotropy and diffusivity measures were calculated and all brain scans were nonlinearly aligned to population and site-specific templates. We performed voxel-based statistical comparisons of the DTI-derived metrics between each disease group and the controls, while adjusting for age. Girls with 22q11.2DS showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) than controls in the association fibers of the superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi, the splenium of the corpus callosum, and the corticospinal tract. FA was abnormally lower in girls with FXS in the posterior limbs of the internal capsule, posterior thalami, and precentral gyrus. Girls with TS had lower FA in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus, right internal capsule and left cerebellar peduncle. Partially overlapping neurodevelopmental anomalies were detected in all three neurogenetic disorders. Altered white matter integrity in the superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi and thalamic to frontal tracts may contribute to the behavioral characteristics of all of these disorders.
PMCID: PMC3947617  PMID: 23602925
Diffussion Tensor Imaging; Genetic diseases; Neurodevelopmental diseases; Connectivity
12.  Midbrain atrophy is not a biomarker of PSP pathology 
Midbrain atrophy is a characteristic feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), although it is unclear whether it is associated with the PSP syndrome (PSPS) or PSP pathology. We aimed to determine whether midbrain atrophy is a useful biomarker of PSP pathology, or whether it is only associated with typical PSPS.
We identified all autopsy-confirmed subjects with the PSP clinical phenotype (i.e. PSPS) or PSP pathology and a volumetric MRI. Of 24 subjects with PSP pathology, 11 had a clinical diagnosis of PSPS (PSP-PSPS), and 13 had a non-PSPS clinical diagnosis (PSP-other). Three subjects had PSPS and corticobasal degeneration pathology (CBD-PSPS). Healthy control and disease control groups (i.e. a group without PSPS or PSP pathology) and a group with CBD pathology and corticobasal syndrome (CBD-CBS) were selected. Midbrain area was measured in all subjects.
Midbrain area was reduced in each group with clinical PSPS (with and without PSP pathology). The group with PSP pathology and non-PSPS clinical syndromes did not show reduced midbrain area. Midbrain area was smaller in the subjects with PSPS compared to those without PSPS (p<0.0001), with an area under the receiver-operator-curve of 0.99 (0.88,0.99). A midbrain area cut-point of 92 mm2 provided optimum sensitivity (93%) and specificity (89%) for differentiation.
Midbrain atrophy is associated with the clinical presentation of PSPS, but not with the pathological diagnosis of PSP in the absence of the PSPS clinical syndrome. This finding has important implications for the utility of midbrain measurements as diagnostic biomarkers for PSP pathology.
PMCID: PMC3773014  PMID: 23746093
Progressive supranuclear palsy; tau; neuropathology; MRI; midbrain
13.  White Matter Integrity and Prediction of Social and Role Functioning in Subjects at Ultra-High Risk for Psychosis 
Biological psychiatry  2009;66(6):562-569.
White matter microstructural disruptions have been observed in patients with schizophrenia. However, whether changes exist prior to disease onset or in high-risk individuals is unclear. Here we investigated white matter integrity, as assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), in individuals at ultra high risk for psychosis (UHR), relative to healthy controls (HC), and the relationship between baseline DTI measures and functional outcome over time.
Thirty-six UHR participants and 25 HC’s completed baseline DTI scans. Subjects also completed clinical follow-up assessments approximately 6 (26 subjects) and 15 months (13 subjects) later. We used a rigorous registration approach (Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) to examine fractional anisotropy (FA) in six major white matter tracts.
Relative to the HC group, UHR subjects showed lower baseline FA in the superior longitudinal fasciculus, the major frontal-parietal white matter connection. Cross-sectional analyses demonstrated that UHR youth failed to show the same age-associated increases in FA in the hippocampus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus as HCs. Finally, lower baseline FA in the hippocampus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus predicted deterioration in social and role functioning in UHR participants at 15-month follow-up.
This is the first investigation of white matter microstructural alterations in a clinical high-risk sample. Our findings indicate that white matter development may be altered in youth at risk for psychosis, possibly due to disrupted developmental mechanisms, and further, that white matter integrity may be predictive of functional outcome.
PMCID: PMC2805703  PMID: 19423081
Schizophrenia; prodrome; diffusion tensor imaging; DTI; white matter; social functioning
14.  Microstructural White Matter Changes, Not Hippocampal Atrophy, Detect Early Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58887.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is generally considered to be characterized by pathology in gray matter of the brain, but convergent evidence suggests that white matter degradation also plays a vital role in its pathogenesis. The evolution of white matter deterioration and its relationship with gray matter atrophy remains elusive in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), a prodromal stage of AD.
We studied 155 cognitively normal (CN) and 27 ‘late’ aMCI individuals with stable diagnosis over 2 years, and 39 ‘early’ aMCI individuals who had converted from CN to aMCI at 2-year follow up. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to reconstruct six white matter tracts three limbic tracts critical for episodic memory function - the fornix, the parahippocampal cingulum, and the uncinate fasciculus; two cortico-cortical association fiber tracts - superior longitudinal fasciculus and inferior longitudinal fasciculus; and one projection fiber tract - corticospinal tract. Microstructural integrity as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD) and axial diffusivity (AxD) was assessed for these tracts.
Compared with CN, late aMCI had lower white matter integrity in the fornix, the parahippocampal cingulum, and the uncinate fasciculus, while early aMCI showed white matter damage in the fornix. In addition, fornical measures were correlated with hippocampal atrophy in late aMCI, whereas abnormality of the fornix in early aMCI occurred in the absence of hippocampal atrophy and did not correlate with hippocampal volumes.
Limbic white matter tracts are preferentially affected in the early stages of cognitive dysfunction. Microstructural degradation of the fornix preceding hippocampal atrophy may serve as a novel imaging marker for aMCI at an early stage.
PMCID: PMC3597581  PMID: 23516569
15.  Microstructural brain injury in post-concussion syndrome after minor head injury 
Neuroradiology  2010;53(8):553-563.
After minor head injury (MHI), post-concussive symptoms commonly occur. The purpose of this study was to correlate the severity of post-concussive symptoms in MHI patients with MRI measures of microstructural brain injury, namely mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA), as well as the presence of microhaemorrhages.
Twenty MHI patients and 12 healthy controls were scanned at 3 T using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and high-resolution gradient recalled echo (HRGRE) T2*-weighted sequences. One patient was excluded from the analysis because of bilateral subdural haematomas. DTI data were preprocessed using Tract Based Spatial Statistics. The resulting MD and FA images were correlated with the severity of post-concussive symptoms evaluated with the Rivermead Postconcussion Symptoms Questionnaire. The number and location of microhaemorrhages were assessed on the HRGRE T2*-weighted images.
Comparing patients with controls, there were no differences in MD. FA was decreased in the right temporal subcortical white matter. MD was increased in association with the severity of post-concussive symptoms in the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO), the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. FA was reduced in association with the severity of post-concussive symptoms in the uncinate fasciculus, the IFO, the internal capsule and the corpus callosum, as well as in the parietal and frontal subcortical white matter. Microhaemorrhages were observed in one patient only.
The severity of post-concussive symptoms after MHI was significantly correlated with a reduction of white matter integrity, providing evidence of microstructural brain injury as a neuropathological substrate of the post-concussion syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3139069  PMID: 20924757
Craniocerebral trauma; Post-concussion syndrome; Diffusion tensor imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Cognition disorder
16.  Diffusion tensor imaging correlates of memory and language impairments in temporal lobe epilepsy 
Neurology  2008;71(23):1869-1876.
To investigate the relationship between white matter tract integrity and language and memory performances in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed in 17 patients with TLE and 17 healthy controls. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were calculated for six fiber tracts (uncinate fasciculus [UF], arcuate fasciculus [AF], fornix [FORX], parahippocampal cingulum [PHC], inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus [IFOF], and corticospinal tract [CST]). Neuropsychological measures of memory and language were obtained and correlations were performed to evaluate the relationship between DTI and neuropsychological measures. Hierarchical regression was performed to determine unique contributions of each fiber tract to cognitive performances after controlling for age and hippocampal volume (HV).
Increases in MD of the left UF, PHC, and IFOF were associated with poorer verbal memory in TLE, as were bilateral increases in MD of the AF, and decreases in FA of the right AF. Increased MD of the AF and UF, and decreased FA of the AF, UF, and left IFOF were related to naming performances. No correlations were found between DTI measures and nonverbal memory or fluency in TLE. Regression analyses revealed that several fibers, including the AF, UF, and IFOF, independently predicted cognitive performances after controlling for HV.
The results suggest that structural compromise to multiple fiber tracts is associated with memory and language impairments in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Furthermore, we provide initial evidence that diffusion tensor imaging tractography may provide clinically unique information for predicting neuropsychological status in patients with epilepsy.
= arcuate fasciculus;
= Boston Naming Test;
= corticospinal tract;
= diffusion tensor imaging;
= fractional anisotropy;
= fornix;
= hippocampal volume;
= intracranial-adjusted HV;
= inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus;
= Logical Memory;
= mean diffusivity;
= mesial temporal sclerosis;
= parahippocampal cingulum;
= temporal lobe epilepsy;
= uncinate fasciculus;
= Wechsler Memory Scale–Third Edition.
PMCID: PMC2676974  PMID: 18946001
17.  White matter microstructure is associated with cognitive control in children 
Biological psychology  2013;94(1):109-115.
Cognitive control, which involves the ability to pay attention and suppress interference, is important for learning and achievement during childhood. The white matter tracts related to control during childhood are not well known. We examined the relationship between white matter microstructure and cognitive control in 61 children aged 7 to 9 years using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This technique enables an in vivo characterization of microstructural properties of white matter based on properties of diffusion. Such properties include fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity, measures thought to reflect specific biological properties of white matter integrity. Our results suggest that children with higher estimates of white matter integrity in the corona radiata, superior longitudinal fasciculus, posterior thalamic radiation, and cerebral peduncle, were more accurate during incongruent (>><>>, <<><<) and neutral (-->--, --<--) trials of a task of cognitive control. Importantly, less interference during the task (i.e., incongruent and neutral difference scores) was associated with greater white matter microstructure in the posterior thalamic radiation and cerebral peduncle. Fiber tracts in a frontal-parietal-striatal-motor circuit seem to play a role in cognitive control in children.
PMCID: PMC3742734  PMID: 23714226
child; cognition; diffusion tensor imaging; flanker; MRI
18.  Magnetic resonance imaging correlates of first-episode psychosis in young adult male patients: combined analysis of grey and white matter 
Several patterns of grey and white matter changes have been separately described in young adults with first-episode psychosis. Concomitant investigation of grey and white matter densities in patients with first-episode psychosis without other psychiatric comorbidities that include all relevant imaging markers could provide clues to the neurodevelopmental hypothesis in schizophrenia.
We recruited patients with first-episode psychosis diagnosed according to the DSM-IV-TR and matched controls. All participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis and mean diffusivity voxel-based analysis (VBA) were used for grey matter data. Fractional anisotropy and axial, radial and mean diffusivity were analyzed using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) for white matter data.
We included 15 patients and 16 controls. The mean diffusivity VBA showed significantly greater mean diffusivity in the first-episode psychosis than in the control group in the lingual gyrus bilaterally, the occipital fusiform gyrus bilaterally, the right lateral occipital gyrus and the right inferior temporal gyrus. Moreover, the TBSS analysis revealed a lower fractional anisotropy in the first-episode psychosis than in the control group in the genu of the corpus callosum, minor forceps, corticospinal tract, right superior longitudinal fasciculus, left middle cerebellar peduncle, left inferior longitudinal fasciculus and the posterior part of the fronto-occipital fasciculus. This analysis also revealed greater radial diffusivity in the first-episode psychosis than in the control group in the right corticospinal tract, right superior longitudinal fasciculus and left middle cerebellar peduncle.
The modest sample size and the absence of women in our series could limit the impact of our results.
Our results highlight the structural vulnerability of grey matter in posterior areas of the brain among young adult male patients with first-episode psychosis. Moreover, the concomitant greater radial diffusivity within several regions already revealed by the fractional anisotropy analysis supports the idea of a late myelination in patients with first-episode psychosis.
PMCID: PMC3447129  PMID: 22748698
19.  Neuropathological Findings of PSP in the Elderly Without Clinical PSP: Possible Incidental PSP? 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2011;17(5):365-371.
We aimed to describe cases with incidental neuropathological findings of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) from the Banner Sun Health Research Institute Brain and Body Donation Program.
We performed a retrospective review of 277 subjects with longitudinal motor and neuropsychological assessments who came to autopsy. The mean Gallyas-positive PSP features grading for subjects with possible incidental neuropathological PSP was compared to those of subjects with clinically manifest disease.
There were 5 cases with histopathological findings suggestive of PSP, but no parkinsonism, dementia or movement disorder during life. Cognitive evaluation revealed 4 of the 5 cases to be cognitively normal; one case had amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in her last year of life. The mean age at death of the 5 cases was 88.9 years (range 80-94). All 5 individuals had histopathologic microscopic findings suggestive of PSP. Mean Gallyas-positive PSP features grading was significantly lower in subjects with possible incidental neuropathological PSP than subjects with clinical PSP, particularly in the subthalamic nucleus.
We present 5 patients with histopathological findings suggestive of PSP, without clinical PSP, dementia or parkinsonism during life. These incidental neuropathological PSP findings may represent the early or pre-symptomatic stage of PSP. The mean Gallyas-positive PSP features grading was significantly lower in possible incidental PSP than in clinical PSP, thus suggesting that a threshold of pathological burden needs to be reached within the typically affected areas in PSP before clinical signs and symptoms appear.
PMCID: PMC3109165  PMID: 21420891
progressive supranuclear palsy; PSP; incidental; autopsy; parkinsonism; neuropathology
20.  Mobility impairment is associated with reduced microstructural integrity of the inferior and superior cerebellar peduncles in elderly with no clinical signs of cerebellar dysfunction☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2013;2:332-340.
While the cerebellum plays a critical role in motor coordination and control no studies have investigated its involvement in idiopathic mobility impairment in community-dwelling elderly. In this study we tested the hypothesis that structural changes in the cerebellar peduncles not detected by conventional magnetic resonance imaging are associated with reduced mobility performance. The analysis involved eighty-five subjects (age range: 75–90 years) who had no clinical signs of cerebellar dysfunction. Based on the short physical performance battery (SPPB) score, we defined mobility status of the subjects in the study as normal (score 11–12, n = 26), intermediate (score 9–10, n = 27) or impaired (score < 9, n = 32). We acquired diffusion tensor imaging data to obtain indices of white matter integrity: fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD). Using a parcellation atlas, regional indices within the superior, middle, and inferior cerebellar peduncles (ICP, MCP, SCP) were calculated and their associations with mobility performance were analyzed. Subjects with impaired mobility showed reduced FA and AD values in the ICP and SCP but not in the MCP. The ICP-FA, ICP-AD and SCP-FA indices showed a significant association with the SPPB score. We also observed significant correlation between ICP-FA and walk time (r = − 0.311, p = 0.004), as well as between SCP-AD and self-paced maximum walking velocity (r = 0.385, p = 0.003) and usual walking velocity (r = 0.400, p = 0.002). In logistic regression analysis ICP-FA and ICP-AD together explained 51% of the variability in the mobility status of a sample comprising the normal and impaired subgroups, and correctly classified more than three-quarters of those subjects. Our findings suggest that presence of microstructural damage, likely axonal, in afferent and efferent connections of the cerebellum contributes to the deterioration of motor performance in older people.
•DTI study of the cerebellar peduncles and mobility in elderly.•Fractional anisotropy and axial diffusivity of inferior peduncle predict mobility.•Decreased anisotropy in the peduncles in the absence of T2 lesions.•Findings likely reflect axonal degeneration of proprioceptive afferent fibers.•Abnormalities in infratentorial white matter are novel findings in the field.
PMCID: PMC3777843  PMID: 24179787
Aging; Mobility; Cerebellar peduncles; Diffusion tensor imaging
21.  Cortical Thickness, Surface Area and Volume Measures in Parkinson's Disease, Multiple System Atrophy and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114167.
Parkinson's disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) are neurodegenerative diseases that can be difficult to distinguish clinically. The objective of the current study was to use surface-based analysis techniques to assess cortical thickness, surface area and grey matter volume to identify unique morphological patterns of cortical atrophy in PD, MSA and PSP and to relate these patterns of change to disease duration and clinical features.
High resolution 3D T1-weighted MRI volumes were acquired from 14 PD patients, 18 MSA, 14 PSP and 19 healthy control participants. Cortical thickness, surface area and volume analyses were carried out using the automated surface-based analysis package FreeSurfer (version 5.1.0). Measures of disease severity and duration were assessed for correlation with cortical morphometric changes in each clinical group.
Results show that in PSP, widespread cortical thinning and volume loss occurs within the frontal lobe, particularly the superior frontal gyrus. In addition, PSP patients also displayed increased surface area in the pericalcarine. In comparison, PD and MSA did not display significant changes in cortical morphology.
These results demonstrate that patients with clinically established PSP exhibit distinct patterns of cortical atrophy, particularly affecting the frontal lobe. These results could be used in the future to develop a useful clinical application of MRI to distinguish PSP patients from PD and MSA patients.
PMCID: PMC4252086  PMID: 25463618
22.  Diffusion tensor tractography findings in schizophrenia across the adult lifespan 
Brain  2010;133(5):1494-1504.
In healthy adult individuals, late life is a dynamic time of change with respect to the microstructural integrity of white matter tracts. Yet, elderly individuals are generally excluded from diffusion tensor imaging studies in schizophrenia. Therefore, we examined microstructural integrity of frontotemporal and interhemispheric white matter tracts in schizophrenia across the adult lifespan. Diffusion tensor imaging data from 25 younger schizophrenic patients (≤55 years), 25 younger controls, 25 older schizophrenic patients (≥56 years) and 25 older controls were analysed. Patients with schizophrenia in each group were individually matched to controls. Whole-brain tractography and clustering segmentation were employed to isolate white matter tracts. Groups were compared using repeated measures analysis of variance with 12 within-group measures of fractional anisotropy: (left and right) uncinate fasciculus, arcuate fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior occipito-frontal fasciculus, cingulum bundle, and genu and splenium of the corpus callosum. For each white matter tract, fractional anisotropy was then regressed against age in patients and controls, and correlation coefficients compared. The main effect of group (F3,92 = 12.2, P < 0.001), and group by tract interactions (F26,832 = 1.68, P = 0.018) were evident for fractional anisotropy values. Younger patients had significantly lower fractional anisotropy than younger controls (Bonferonni-corrected alpha = 0.0042) in the left uncinate fasciculus (t48 = 3.7, P = 0.001) and right cingulum bundle (t48 = 3.6, P = 0.001), with considerable effect size, but the older groups did not differ. Schizophrenic patients did not demonstrate accelerated age-related decline compared with healthy controls in any white matter tract. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the microstructural integrity of frontotemporal white matter tracts across the adult lifespan in schizophrenia. The left uncinate fasciculus and right cingulum bundle are disrupted in younger chronic patients with schizophrenia compared with matched controls, suggesting that these white matter tracts are related to frontotemporal disconnectivity. The absence of accelerated age-related decline, or differences between older community-dwelling patients and controls, suggests that these patients may possess resilience to white matter disruption.
PMCID: PMC2859148  PMID: 20237131
schizophrenia; diffusion tensor; ageing; white matter fibre pathways
23.  Diffusion tensor imaging in autism spectrum disorders: Preliminary evidence of abnormal neural connectivity 
This study indirectly tested the hypothesis that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have impaired neural connections between the amygdala, fusiform face area, and superior temporal sulcus, key processing nodes of the “social brain.” This would be evidenced by abnormalities in the major fibre tracts known to connect these structures, including the inferior longitudinal fasciculus and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus.
Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging was performed on 20 right-handed males (ASD = 10, controls = 10) with a mean age 13.5 ± 4.0 years. Subjects were group-matched according to age, full-scale IQ, handedness, and ethnicity. Fractional anisotropy was used to assess structural integrity of major fibre tracts. Voxel-wise comparison of white matter fractional anisotropy was conducted between groups using ANCOVA adjusting for age, full-scale IQ, and brain volume. Volumes of interest were identified using predetermined probability and cluster thresholds. Follow-up tractography was performed to confirm the anatomic location of all volumes of interest.
All volumes of interest were regions of lower FA and were observed primarily in pericallosal regions and temporal lobes. As confirmed by tractography, affected white matter structures included the inferior longitudinal fasciculus/inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and corpus callosum/cingulum. Notably, some volumes of interest were adjacent to the fusiform face area, bilaterally, corresponding to involvement of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. The largest effect sizes were noted for volumes of interest in the right anterior radiation of the corpus callosum/cingulum and right fusiform face area (inferior longitudinal fasciculus).
This study provides preliminary evidence of impaired neural connectivity in the corpus callosum/cingulum and temporal lobes involving the inferior longitudinal fasciculus/inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and superior longitudinal fasciculus in ASDs. These findings provide preliminary support for aberrant neural connectivity between the amygdala, fusiform face area, and superior temporal sulcus – temporal lobe structures critical for normal social perception and cognition.
PMCID: PMC3123660  PMID: 21128874
autism; connectivity; diffusion tensor imaging; social brain; white matter
24.  Neuropsychological follow up in patients with Parkinson's disease, striatonigral degeneration-type multisystem atrophy, and progressive supranuclear palsy 
OBJECTIVES—Impairment of executive function is frequent in Parkinson's disease (PD), striatonigral degeneration-type multisystem atrophy (SND), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP); sometimes frank dementia is also present. However, the progression of cognitive decline has not been adequately studied. The objectives were to delineate the progression of cognitive impairment in these parkinsonisms and to elucidate interdisease differences.
METHODS—Twenty three patients with SND and 21 with PSP, referred consecutively, and 18 patients with PD matched for severity of parkinsonism were compared on a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests and motor invalidity scales. A mean of 21 months later (range 18-24 months) the patients were called for retesting.
RESULTS—Only 12 patients with PD (66.6%), 14 with SND (60.8%), and 11 with PSP (52.4%) were retested; those who dropped out refused, had died, or were too disabled. The patients with PSP performed worse than patients with PD or SND in the short tale, verbal fluency, visual search, and Benton tests at first evaluation. Overall cognitive performance was similar in the PD and SND groups except that the SND group did significantly worse on the verbal fluency test. Between group comparison of changes in scores from first to second evaluation showed that patients with PSP deteriorated significantly in the Nelson test compared with patients with PD or SND, and that patients with PSP or SND declined significantly on the visual search test compared with patients with PD. There was no difference between the groups for motor decline. Two patients with PSP were demented (DSM IV criteria) at first evaluation and six at second evaluation; no patients with PD or SND were demented at either evaluation.
CONCLUSIONS—The greater decline of patients with PSP in attention, set shifting, and categorisation abilities is probably related to the conspicuous frontal deafferentation associated with direct premotor and prefrontal involvement, and to dysfunction of the midbrain ascending activating system, known to occur in PSP.

PMCID: PMC1737110  PMID: 10945805
25.  White Matter Abnormalities Correlating with Memory and Depression in Heroin Users under Methadone Maintenance Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e33809.
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has elevated rates of co-morbid memory deficit and depression that are associated with higher relapse rates for substance abuse. White matter (WM) disruption in MMT patients have been reported but their impact on these co-morbidities is unknown. This study aimed to investigate changes in WM integrity of MMT subjects using diffusion tensor image (DTI), and their relationship with history of heroin and methadone use in treated opiate-dependent individuals. The association between WM integrity changes from direct group comparisons and the severity of memory deficit and depression was also investigated. Differences in WM integrity between 35 MMT patients and 23 healthy controls were evaluated using DTI with tract-based spatial statistical analysis. Differences in DTI indices correlated with diminished memory function, Beck Depression Inventory, duration of heroin use and MMT, and dose of heroin and methadone administration. Changes in WM integrity were found in several WM regions, including the temporal and frontal lobes, pons, cerebellum, and cingulum bundles. The duration of MMT was associated with declining DTI indices in the superior longitudinal fasciculus and para-hippocampus. MMT patients had more memory and emotional deficits than healthy subjects. Worse scores in both depression and memory functions were associated with altered WM integrity in the superior longitudinal fasciculus, para-hippocampus, and middle cerebellar peduncle in MMT. Patients on MMT also had significant WM differences in the reward circuit and in depression- and memory-associated regions. Correlations among decreased DTI indices, disease severity, and accumulation effects of methadone suggest that WM alterations may be involved in the psychopathology and pathophysiology of co-morbidities in MMT.
PMCID: PMC3322116  PMID: 22496768

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