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author:("Chen, hewei")
2.  Disrupted Functional and Structural Networks in Cognitively Normal Elderly Subjects with the APOE ɛ4 Allele 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2014;40(5):1181-1191.
As the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele is a major genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD), which has been suggested as a disconnection syndrome manifested by the disruption of white matter (WM) integrity and functional connectivity (FC), elucidating the subtle brain structural and functional network changes in cognitively normal ɛ4 carriers is essential for identifying sensitive neuroimaging based biomarkers and understanding the preclinical AD-related abnormality development. We first constructed functional network on the basis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and a structural network on the basis of diffusion tensor image. Using global, local and nodal efficiencies of these two networks, we then examined (i) the differences of functional and WM structural network between cognitively normal ɛ4 carriers and non-carriers simultaneously, (ii) the sensitivity of these indices as biomarkers, and (iii) their relationship to behavior measurements, as well as to cholesterol level. For ɛ4 carriers, we found reduced global efficiency significantly in WM and marginally in FC, regional FC dysfunctions mainly in medial temporal areas, and more widespread for WM network. Importantly, the right parahippocampal gyrus (PHG.R) was the only region with simultaneous functional and structural damage, and the nodal efficiency of PHG.R in WM network mediates the APOE ɛ4 effect on memory function. Finally, the cholesterol level correlated with WM network differently than with the functional network in ɛ4 carriers. Our results demonstrated ɛ4-specific abnormal structural and functional patterns, which may potentially serve as biomarkers for early detection before the onset of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4367462  PMID: 25403724
3.  Alzheimer's disease biomarkers as outcome measures for clinical trials in MCI 
Aim of this study was to compare the performance and power of the best-established diagnostic biological markers as outcome measures for clinical trials in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MRI, FDG-PET markers, and ADAS-COG were compared in terms of effect size and statistical power over different followup periods in two MCI groups, selected from ADNI dataset based on CSF (abnormal CSF Aβ1-42 concentration - ABETA+) or MRI evidence of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) (positivity to hippocampal atrophy - HIPPO+). Biomarkers progression was modeled through mixed effect models. Scaled slope was chosen as measure of effect size. Biomarkers power was estimated using simulation algorithms.
Seventy-four ABETA+ and 51 HIPPO+ MCI patients were included in the study. Imaging biomarkers of neurodegeneration, especially MR measurements, showed highest performance. For all biomarkers and both MCI groups, power increased with increasing follow-up time, irrespective of biomarker assessment frequency.
These findings provide information about biomarker enrichment and outcome measurements that could be employed to reduce MCI patient samples and treatment duration in future clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4437812  PMID: 25437302
Alzheimer's disease; mild cognitive impairment; clinical trials; biomarkers; outcome measures; enrichment biomarkers; biomarkers power
4.  Brain Effective Connectivity Modeling for Alzheimer’s Disease by Sparse Gaussian Bayesian Network 
Recent studies have shown that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is related to alteration in brain connectivity networks. One type of connectivity, called effective connectivity, defined as the directional relationship between brain regions, is essential to brain function. However, there have been few studies on modeling the effective connectivity of AD and characterizing its difference from normal controls (NC). In this paper, we investigate the sparse Bayesian Network (BN) for effective connectivity modeling. Specifically, we propose a novel formulation for the structure learning of BNs, which involves one L1-norm penalty term to impose sparsity and another penalty to ensure the learned BN to be a directed acyclic graph – a required property of BNs. We show, through both theoretical analysis and extensive experiments on eleven moderate and large benchmark networks with various sample sizes, that the proposed method has much improved learning accuracy and scalability compared with ten competing algorithms. We apply the proposed method to FDG-PET images of 42 AD and 67 NC subjects, and identify the effective connectivity models for AD and NC, respectively. Our study reveals that the effective connectivity of AD is different from that of NC in many ways, including the global-scale effective connectivity, intra-lobe, interlobe, and inter-hemispheric effective connectivity distributions, as well as the effective connectivity associated with specific brain regions. These findings are consistent with known pathology and clinical progression of AD, and will contribute to AD knowledge discovery.
PMCID: PMC4779440  PMID: 26952033
Algorithms; Brain network; Alzheimer’s disease; neuroimaging; FDG-PET; Bayesian network; sparse learning
5.  Converging mediators from immune and trophic pathways to identify Parkinson disease dementia 
To identify a panel of peripheral inflammatory/immune mediators that could discriminate Parkinson disease with dementia (PDD) from Parkinson disease (PD) without dementia.
Plasma samples from 52 patients with PD and 22 patients with PDD were prepared from freshly collected blood following an institutional review board–approved protocol. A total of 160 proteins were measured using a multiplex antibody array. Plasma α-synuclein levels were analyzed by an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay. The main objective of the statistical analyses was to identify PDD discriminants using the plasma protein profile alone or in combination with age.
The PD and PDD groups differed significantly in cognitive measurements (Mini-Mental State Examination, Auditory Verbal Learning Test-A7, and Clinical Dementia Rating) and age. The age-adjusted levels of thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AA were significantly different between disease groups. The levels of plasma α-synuclein significantly correlated with 26 proteins; among them, PDGF-BB, TARC, PDGF-AA, and epidermal growth factor were the highest. Linear discriminant analysis with leave-one-out cross-validation identified a 14-protein panel with age as discriminants of PDD (96% sensitivity, 89% specificity, area under the curve = 0.9615).
We showed that multiple proteins that are mediators of growth/trophic and immune response-related pathways had discriminatory power for identifying PDD in patients with PD. Validation of this discovery-based study in longitudinal population-based studies is warranted.
Classification of evidence:
This study provides Class III evidence that a 14-protein panel plasma assay combined with age has a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 89% for PDD.
PMCID: PMC4733150  PMID: 26848485
NeuroImage  2014;0:1-20.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia and people with MCI are at high risk of progression to dementia. MCI is attracting increasing attention, as it offers an opportunity to target the disease process during an early symptomatic stage. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures have been the mainstay of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) imaging research, however, ventricular morphometry analysis remains challenging because of its complicated topological structure. Here we describe a novel ventricular morphometry system based on the hyperbolic Ricci flow method and tensor-based morphometry (TBM) statistics. Unlike prior ventricular surface parameterization methods, hyperbolic conformal parameterization is angle-preserving and does not have any singularities. Our system generates a one-to-one diffeomorphic mapping between ventricular surfaces with consistent boundary matching conditions. The TBM statistics encode a great deal of surface deformation information that could be inaccessible or overlooked by other methods. We applied our system to the baseline MRI scans of a set of MCI subjects from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI: 71 MCI converters vs. 62 MCI stable). Although the combined ventricular area and volume features did not differ between the two groups, our fine-grained surface analysis revealed significant differences in the ventricular regions close to the temporal lobe and posterior cingulate, structures that are affected early in AD. Significant correlations were also detected between ventricular morphometry, neuropsychological measures, and a previously described imaging index based on fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scans. This novel ventricular morphometry method may offer a new and more sensitive approach to study preclinical and early symptomatic stage AD.
PMCID: PMC4252650  PMID: 25285374
Alzheimer’s disease; mild cognitive impairment; hyperbolic Ricci flow; tensor-based morphometry
7.  An empirically derived composite cognitive test score with improved power to track and evaluate treatments for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease 
There is growing interest in the evaluation of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatments. As a result, there is a need to identify a cognitive composite that is sensitive to tracking preclinical AD decline to be used as a primary endpoint in treatment trials.
Longitudinal data from initially cognitively normal, 70–85 year old participants in three cohort studies of aging and dementia from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center were examined to empirically define a composite cognitive endpoint that is sensitive to detecting and tracking cognitive decline prior to the onset of cognitive impairment. The mean to standard deviation ratios (MSDR) of change over time were calculated in a search for the optimal combination of cognitive tests/sub-tests drawn from the neuropsychological battery in cognitively normal participants who subsequently progressed to clinical stages of AD during a two and five year period, using data from those who remained unimpaired during the same time period to correct for aging and practice effects. Combinations that performed well were then evaluated for representation of relevant cognitive domains, robustness across individual years prior to diagnosis, and occurrence of selected items within top performing combinations.
The optimal composite cognitive test score is comprised of 7 cognitive tests/sub-tests with an MSDR=0.964. By comparison, the most sensitive individual test score, Logical Memory – Delayed Recall, MSDR= 0.64.
We have identified a composite cognitive test score representing multiple cognitive domains that has improved power compared to the most sensitive single test item to track preclinical AD decline and evaluate preclinical AD treatments. We are confirming the power of the composite in independent cohorts, and with other analytical approaches, which may result in refinements, and have designated it as the primary endpoint in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s preclinical treatment trials for individuals at high imminent risk for developing symptoms due to late-onset AD.
PMCID: PMC4201904  PMID: 24751827
8.  Dynamic FDG-PET Imaging to Differentiate Malignancies from Inflammation in Subcutaneous and In Situ Mouse Model for Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0139089.
[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has been widely used in oncologic procedures such as tumor diagnosis and staging. However, false-positive rates have been high, unacceptable and mainly caused by inflammatory lesions. Misinterpretations take place especially when non-subcutaneous inflammations appear at the tumor site, for instance in the lung. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the use of dynamic PET imaging procedure to differentiate in situ and subcutaneous non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) from inflammation, and estimate the kinetics of inflammations in various locations.
Dynamic FDG-PET was performed on 33 female mice inoculated with tumor and/or inflammation subcutaneously or inside the lung. Standardized Uptake Values (SUVs) from static imaging (SUVmax) as well as values of influx rate constant (Ki) of compartmental modeling from dynamic imaging were obtained. Static and kinetic data from different lesions (tumor and inflammations) or different locations (subcutaneous, in situ and spontaneous group) were compared.
Values of SUVmax showed significant difference in subcutaneous tumor and inflammation (p<0.01), and in inflammations from different locations (p<0.005). However, SUVmax showed no statistical difference between in situ tumor and inflammation (p = 1.0) and among tumors from different locations (subcutaneous and in situ, p = 0.91). Values of Ki calculated from compartmental modeling showed significant difference between tumor and inflammation both subcutaneously (p<0.005) and orthotopically (p<0.01). Ki showed also location specific values for inflammations (subcutaneous, in situ and spontaneous, p<0.015). However, Ki of tumors from different locations (subcutaneous and in situ) showed no significant difference (p = 0.46).
In contrast to static PET based SUVmax, both subcutaneous and in situ inflammations and malignancies can be differentiated via dynamic FDG-PET based Ki. Moreover, Values of influx rate constant Ki from compartmental modeling can offer an assessment for inflammations at different locations of the body, which also implies further validation is necessary before the replacement of in situ inflammation with its subcutaneous counterpart in animal experiments.
PMCID: PMC4589399  PMID: 26421925
9.  A phase Ib multiple ascending dose study of the safety, tolerability, and central nervous system availability of AZD0530 (saracatinib) in Alzheimer’s disease 
Despite significant progress, a disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has not yet been developed. Recent findings implicate soluble oligomeric amyloid beta as the most relevant protein conformation in AD pathogenesis. We recently described a signaling cascade whereby oligomeric amyloid beta binds to cellular prion protein on the neuronal cell surface, activating intracellular Fyn kinase to mediate synaptotoxicity. Fyn kinase has been implicated in AD pathophysiology both in in vitro models and in human subjects, and is a promising new therapeutic target for AD. Herein, we present a Phase Ib trial of the repurposed investigational drug AZD0530, a Src family kinase inhibitor specific for Fyn and Src kinase, for the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate AD.
The study was a 4-week Phase Ib multiple ascending dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of AZD0530 in AD patients with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores ranging from 16 to 26. A total of 24 subjects were recruited in three sequential groups, with each randomized to receive oral AZD0530 at doses of 50 mg, 100 mg, 125 mg, or placebo daily for 4 weeks. The drug:placebo ratio was 3:1. Primary endpoints were safety, tolerability, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) penetration of AZD0530. Secondary endpoints included changes in clinical efficacy measures (Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale – cognitive subscale, MMSE, Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study – Activities of Daily Living Inventory, Neuropsychiatric Inventory, and Clinical Dementia Rating Scale – Sum of Boxes) and regional cerebral glucose metabolism measured by fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography.
AZD0530 was generally safe and well tolerated across doses. One subject receiving 125 mg of AZD0530 was discontinued from the study due to the development of congestive heart failure and atypical pneumonia, which were considered possibly related to the study drug. Plasma/CSF ratio of AZD0530 was 0.4. The 100 mg and 125 mg doses achieved CSF drug levels corresponding to brain levels that rescued memory deficits in transgenic mouse models. One-month treatment with AZD0530 had no significant effect on clinical efficacy measures or regional cerebral glucose metabolism.
AZD0530 is reasonably safe and well tolerated in patients with mild-to-moderate AD, achieving substantial central nervous system penetration with oral dosing at 100–125 mg. Targeting Fyn kinase may be a promising therapeutic approach in AD, and a larger Phase IIa clinical trial of AZD0530 for the treatment of patients with AD has recently launched.
Trial registration NCT01864655. Registered 12 June 2014.
PMCID: PMC4396171  PMID: 25874001
10.  Independent Component Analysis-Based Identification of Covariance Patterns of Microstructural White Matter Damage in Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119714.
The existing DTI studies have suggested that white matter damage constitutes an important part of the neurodegenerative changes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study aimed to identify the regional covariance patterns of microstructural white matter changes associated with AD. In this study, we applied a multivariate analysis approach, independent component analysis (ICA), to identify covariance patterns of microstructural white matter damage based on fractional anisotropy (FA) skeletonised images from DTI data in 39 AD patients and 41 healthy controls (HCs) from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database. The multivariate ICA decomposed the subject-dimension concatenated FA data into a mixing coefficient matrix and a source matrix. Twenty-eight independent components (ICs) were extracted, and a two sample t-test on each column of the corresponding mixing coefficient matrix revealed significant AD/HC differences in ICA weights for 7 ICs. The covariant FA changes primarily involved the bilateral corona radiata, the superior longitudinal fasciculus, the cingulum, the hippocampal commissure, and the corpus callosum in AD patients compared to HCs. Our findings identified covariant white matter damage associated with AD based on DTI in combination with multivariate ICA, potentially expanding our understanding of the neuropathological mechanisms of AD.
PMCID: PMC4361402  PMID: 25775003
11.  Associations Between Biomarkers and Age in the Presenilin 1 E280A Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer Disease Kindred A Cross-sectional Study 
JAMA neurology  2015;72(3):316-324.
Age-associated changes in brain imaging and fluid biomarkers are characterized and compared in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation carriers and noncarriers from the world’s largest known autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease (AD) kindred.
To characterize and compare age-associated changes in brain imaging and fluid biomarkers in PSEN1 E280A mutation carriers and noncarriers.
Cross-sectional measures of 18F-florbetapir positron emission tomography, 18F-fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, structural magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and plasma biomarkers of AD were assessed from 54 PSEN1 E280A kindred members (age range, 20-59 years).
We used brain mapping algorithms to compare regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose and gray matter volumes in cognitively unimpaired mutation carriers and noncarriers. We used regression analyses to characterize associations between age and the mean cortical to pontine 18F-florbetapir standard uptake value ratios, precuneus cerebral metabolic rates for glucose, hippocampal gray matter volume, CSF Aβ1-42, total tau and phosphorylated tau181, and plasma Aβ measurements. Age at onset of progressive biomarker changes that distinguish carriers from noncarriers was estimated using best-fitting regression models.
Compared with noncarriers, cognitively unimpaired mutation carriers had significantly lower precuneus cerebral metabolic rates for glucose, smaller hippocampal volume, lower CSF Aβ1-42, higher CSF total tau and phosphorylated tau181, and higher plasma Aβ1-42 measurements. Sequential changes in biomarkers were seen at age 20 years (95% CI, 14-24 years) for CSF Aβ1-42, age 16 years (95% CI, 11-24 years) for the mean cortical 18F-florbetapir standard uptake value ratio, age 15 years (95% CI, 10-24 years) for precuneus cerebral metabolic rate for glucose, age 15 years (95% CI, 7-20 years) for CSF total tau, age 13 years (95% CI, 8-19 years) for phosphorylated tau181, and age 6 years (95% CI, 1-10 years) for hippocampal volume, with cognitive decline up to 6 years before the kindred’s estimated median age of 44 years (95% CI, 43-45 years) at mild cognitive impairment diagnosis. No age-associated findings were seen in plasma Aβ1-42 or Aβ1-40.
This cross-sectional study provides additional information about the course of different AD biomarkers in the preclinical and clinical stages of autosomal dominant AD.
PMCID: PMC4355261  PMID: 25580592
12.  The Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative composite cognitive test score: Sample size estimates for the evaluation of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease treatments in presenilin 1 E280A mutation carriers 
There is a need to identify a cognitive composite that is sensitive to tracking preclinical AD decline to be used as a primary endpoint in treatment trials.
We capitalized on longitudinal data, collected from 1995 to 2010, from cognitively unimpaired presenilin 1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation carriers from the world’s largest known early-onset autosomal dominant AD (ADAD) kindred to identify a composite cognitive test with the greatest statistical power to track preclinical AD decline and estimate the number of carriers age 30 and older needed to detect a treatment effect in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s (API) preclinical AD treatment trial. The mean-to-standard-deviation ratios (MSDRs) of change over time were calculated in a search for the optimal combination of one to seven cognitive tests/sub-tests drawn from the neuropsychological test battery in cognitively unimpaired mutation carriers during a two and five year follow-up period, using data from non-carriers during the same time period to correct for aging and practice effects. Combinations that performed well were then evaluated for robustness across follow-up years, occurrence of selected items within top performing combinations and representation of relevant cognitive domains.
This optimal test combination included CERAD Word List Recall, CERAD Boston Naming Test (high frequency items), MMSE Orientation to Time, CERAD Constructional Praxis and Ravens Progressive Matrices (Set A) with an MSDR of 1.62. This composite is more sensitive than using either the CERAD Word List Recall (MSDR=0.38) or the entire CERAD-Col battery (MSDR=0.76). A sample size of 75 cognitively normal PSEN1-E280A mutation carriers age 30 and older per treatment arm allows for a detectable treatment effect of 29% in a 60-month trial (80% power, p=0.05).
We have identified a composite cognitive test score representing multiple cognitive domains that has improved power compared to the most sensitive single test item to track preclinical AD decline in ADAD mutation carriers and evaluate preclinical AD treatments. This API composite cognitive test score will be used as the primary endpoint in the first API trial in cognitively unimpaired ADAD carriers within 15 years of their estimated age at clinical onset. We have independently confirmed our findings in a separate cohort of cognitively healthy older adults who progressed to the clinical stages of late-onset AD, described in a separate report, and continue to refine the composite in independent cohorts and compared with other analytical approaches.
PMCID: PMC4331113  PMID: 24816373
composite cognitive score; API; Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative; E280A; PSEN1; presenilin1; sample size; preclinical; cognitively unimpaired; autosomal dominant; ADAD
13.  Sensitivity to change and prediction of global change for the Alzheimer’s Questionnaire 
Longitudinal assessment of cognitive decline in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often involves the use of both informant-based and objective cognitive assessments. As efforts have focused on identifying individuals in pre-clinical stages, instruments that are sensitive to subtle cognitive changes are needed. The Alzheimer’s Questionnaire (AQ) has demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity in identifying aMCI and AD; however its ability to measure longitudinal change has not been assessed. The aims of this study are to assess the sensitivity to change of the AQ and to determine whether the AQ predicts change in global cognition and function in cognitively normal (CN), aMCI, and AD subjects.
Data from 202 individuals participating in a brain and body donation program were utilized for this study (101 CN, 62 aMCI, 39 AD). AD and aMCI individuals were matched on age, education, and gender to CN individuals. Sensitivity to change of the AQ was assessed in addition to the AQ’s ability to predict change in global cognition and function. The Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) and Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) were used as gold standard comparisons of cognition and function. Sample size calculations for a 25% treatment effect were also carried out for all three groups.
The AQ demonstrated small sensitivity to change in the aMCI and CN groups (d = 0.33, d = 0.23, respectively) and moderate sensitivity to change in the AD group (d = 0.43). The AQ was associated with increases in the Clinical Dementia Rating Global Score (OR = 1.20 (1.09, 1.32), P <0.001). Sample size calculations found that the AQ would require substantially fewer subjects than the MMSE given a 25% treatment effect.
Although the AQ demonstrated small sensitivity to change in aMCI and CN individuals in terms of effect size, the AQ may be superior to objective cognitive tests in terms of required sample size for a clinical trial. As clinicians and researchers continue to identify and treat individuals in earlier stages of AD, there is a need for instruments that are sensitive to cognitive changes in these earlier stages.
PMCID: PMC4652427  PMID: 26584966
14.  Subjective Cognitive Decline: Self and Informant Comparisons 
It is unclear whether self or informant-based subjective cognition better distinguishes emotional factors from early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
447 healthy members of the Arizona Apolipoprotein E (APOE) Cohort and their informants completed both the self and informant paired Multidimensional Assessment of Neurodegenerative Symptoms questionnaire (MANS).
30.6% of members and 26.2% of informants endorsed decline on the MANS. Both self and informant-based decliners had higher scores of psychological distress and slightly lower cognitive scores than nondecliners. Over the next 6.7 years, 20 developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Converters were older at entry than nonconverters (63.8[7.0] vs 58.8[7.3] years, p=.003), 85% were APOE e4 carriers (p<.0001), and they self-endorsed decline earlier than informants (58.9[39.2] vs 28.0[40.4] months before MCI; p=.002).
Both self and informant based subjective decline correlated with greater psychological distress, and slightly lower cognitive performance. Those with incident MCI generally self-endorsed decline earlier than informants.
PMCID: PMC3732500  PMID: 23562429
15.  Fibrillar Amyloid Correlates of Preclinical Cognitive Decline 
It is not known whether preclinical cognitive decline is associated with fibrillar β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition irrespective of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 status.
From a prospective observational study of 623 cognitively normal individuals, we identified all subjects who showed preclinical decline of at least 2 standard deviations beyond the decline of the entire group in memory or executive function. Fourteen decliners were matched by APOE ε4 gene dose, age, sex, and education with 14 nondecliners. Dynamic Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) scans, the Logan method, statistical parametric mapping, and automatically labeled regions of interest were used to characterize and compare cerebral-to-cerebellar PiB distribution volume ratios (DVR), reflecting fibrillar Aβ burden.
At P<.005 (uncorrected), decliners had significantly greater DVR’s in comparison to nondecliners.
Asymptomatic longitudinal neuropsychological decline is associated with subsequent increased fibrillar amyloid deposition, even when controlling for APOE ε4 genotype.
PMCID: PMC3713087  PMID: 23583233
preclinical; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid imaging; cognitive decline; Apolipoprotein E
16.  Regional covariance patterns of gray matter alterations in Alzheimer’s disease and its replicability evaluation 
Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI  2013;39(1):10.1002/jmri.24143.
To identify regional network covariance patterns of gray matter associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to further evaluate its replicability and stability.
Materials and Methods
This study applied a multivariate analytic approach based on scaled subprofile modeling (SSM) to structural MRI data from 19 patients with AD and 19 healthy controls (HC). We further applied the derived covariance patterns to examine the replicability and stability of AD-associated covariance patterns in an independent dataset [13 AD and 14 HC] acquired with a different scanner.
The AD-associated covariance patterns identified from SSM combined principal components mainly involved the temporal lobe and parietal lobe. The expression of covariance patterns was significantly higher in AD patients than HC (t(36) = 5.84, p= 5.75E–7) and predicted the AD/HC group membership (84% sensitivity and 90% specificity). In replicability evaluation, the expression of the forward applied covariance patterns was still statistically significant and had acceptable discriminability (69% sensitivity and 71% specificity).
AD patients showed regional gray matter alterations in a reliable covariance manner. The results suggest that SSM has utility for characterizing covariant features, therefore, can assist us with further understanding covariance patterns of gray matter in AD based on the view of the network.
PMCID: PMC3732807  PMID: 23589138
multivariate analysis; scaled subprofile model; Alzheimer’s disease; structural MRI; voxel-based morphometry
17.  Brain Differences in Infants at Differential Genetic Risk for Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease A Cross-sectional Imaging Study 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(1):11-22.
Converging evidence suggests brain structure alterations may precede overt cognitive impairment in Alzheimer disease by several decades. Early detection of these alterations holds inherent value for the development and evaluation of preventive treatment therapies.
To compare magnetic resonance imaging measurements of white matter myelin water fraction (MWF) and gray matter volume (GMV) in healthy infant carriers and noncarriers of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, the major susceptibility gene for late-onset AD.
Quiet magnetic resonance imaging was performed at an academic research imaging center on 162 healthy, typically developing 2- to 25-month-old infants with no family history of Alzheimer disease or other neurological or psychiatric disorders. Cross-sectional measurements were compared in the APOE ε4 carrier and noncarrier groups. White matter MWF was compared in one hundred sixty-two 2- to 25-month-old sleeping infants (60 ε4 carriers and 102 noncarriers). Gray matter volume was compared in a subset of fifty-nine 6- to 25-month-old infants (23 ε4 carriers and 36 noncarriers), who remained asleep during the scanning session. The carrier and noncarrier groups were matched for age, gestational duration, birth weight, sex ratio, maternal age, education, and socioeconomic status.
Automated algorithms compared regional white matter MWF and GMV in the carrier and noncarrier groups and characterized their associations with age.
Infant ε4 carriers had lower MWF and GMV measurements than noncarriers in precuneus, posterior/middle cingulate, lateral temporal, and medial occipitotemporal regions, areas preferentially affected by AD, and greater MWF and GMV measurements in extensive frontal regions and measurements were also significant in the subset of 2- to 6-month-old infants (MWF differences, P < .05, after correction for multiple comparisons; GMV differences, P < .001, uncorrected for multiple comparisons). Infant ε4 carriers also exhibited an attenuated relationship between MWF and age in posterior white matter regions.
While our findings should be considered preliminary, this study demonstrates some of the earliest brain changes associated with the genetic predisposition to AD. It raises new questions about the role of APOE in normal human brain development, the extent to which these processes are related to subsequent AD pathology, and whether they could be targeted by AD prevention therapies.
PMCID: PMC4056558  PMID: 24276092
18.  Selectively Disrupted Functional Connectivity Networks in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
The high prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in individuals over 65 years old and cognitive deficits caused by T2DM have attracted broad attention. The pathophysiological mechanism of T2DM-induced cognitive impairments, however, remains poorly understood. Previous studies have suggested that the cognitive impairments can be attributed not only to local functional and structural abnormalities but also to specific brain networks. Thus, our aim is to investigate the changes of global networks selectively affected by T2DM.
A resting state functional network analysis was conducted to investigate the intrinsic functional connectivity in 37 patients with diabetes and 40 healthy controls who were recruited from local communities in Beijing, China.
We found that patients with T2DM exhibited cognitive function declines and functional connectivity disruptions within the default mode network, left frontal parietal network, and sensorimotor network. More importantly, the fasting glucose level was correlated with abnormal functional connectivity.
These findings could help to understand the neural mechanisms of cognitive impairments in T2DM and provide potential neuroimaging biomarkers that may be used for early diagnosis and intervention in cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC4675853  PMID: 26696885
type 2 diabetes mellitus; Alzheimer’s disease; resting state network; functional magnetic resonance imaging; functional connectivity
The Lancet. Neurology  2012;11(12):1048-1056.
We previously detected functional brain imaging abnormalities in young adults at genetic risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, we sought to characterize structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and plasma biomarker abnormalities in young adults at risk for autosomal dominant early-onset AD. Biomarker measurements were characterized and compared in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation carriers and non-carriers from the world’s largest known autosomal dominant early-onset AD kindred, more than two decades before the carriers’ estimated median age of 44 at the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and before their estimated age of 28 at the onset of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaque deposition.
Biomarker data for this cross-sectional study were acquired in Antioquia, Colombia between July and August, 2010. Forty-four participants from the Colombian Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) Registry had structural MRIs, functional MRIs during associative memory encoding/novel viewing and control tasks, and cognitive assessments. They included 20 mutation carriers and 24 non-carriers, who were cognitively normal, 18-26 years old and matched for their gender, age, and educational level. Twenty of the participants, including 10 mutation carriers and 10 non-carriers, had lumbar punctures and venipunctures. Primary outcome measures included task-dependent hippocampal/parahippocampal activations and precuneus/posterior cingulate deactivations, regional gray matter reductions, CSF Aβ1-42, total tau and phospho-tau181 levels, and plasma Aβ1-42 levels and Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratios. Structural and functional MRI data were compared using automated brain mapping algorithms and AD-related search regions. Cognitive and fluid biomarkers were compared using Mann-Whitney tests.
The mutation carrier and non-carrier groups did not differ significantly in their dementia ratings, neuropsychological test scores, or proportion of apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers. Compared to the non-carriers, carriers had higher CSF Aβ1-42 levels (p=0·008), plasma Aβ1-42 levels (p=0·01), and plasma Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratios (p=0·001), consistent with Aβ1-42 overproduction. They also had greater hippocampal/parahippocampal activations (as low as p=0·008, after correction for multiple comparisons), less precuneus/posterior cingulate deactivations (as low as p=0·001, after correction), less gray matter in several regions (p-values <0·005, uncorrected, and corrected p=0·008 in the parietal search region), similar to findings in the later preclinical and clinical stages of autosomal dominant and late-onset AD.
Young adults at genetic risk for autosomal dominant AD have functional and structural MRI abnormalities, along with CSF and plasma biomarker findings consistent with Aβ1-42 over-production. While the extent to which the underlying brain changes are progressive or developmental remain to be determined, this study demonstrates the earliest known biomarker changes in cognitively normal people at genetic risk for autosomal dominant AD.
Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, Nomis Foundation, Anonymous Foundation, Forget Me Not Initiative, Boston University Department of Psychology, Colciencias (1115-408-20512, 1115-545-31651), National Institute on Aging (R01 AG031581, P30 AG19610, UO1 AG024904, RO1 AG025526, RF1AG041705), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (F31-NS078786) and state of Arizona.
PMCID: PMC4181671  PMID: 23137948
Alzheimer’s disease; biomarkers; preclinical; early-onset; dominantly inherited; MRI; functional MRI; cerebrospinal fluid; plasma; presenilin E280A mutation; amyloid; tau; genetics; prevention
20.  Fat-Free Body Mass but not Fat Mass is Associated with Reduced Gray Matter Volume of Cortical Brain Regions Implicated in Autonomic and Homeostatic Regulation 
NeuroImage  2012;64:712-721.
Obesity has been associated with alterations of both functional and structural aspects of the human central nervous system. In obese individuals both fat mass (FM; primarily consisting of adipose tissue) and fat-free mass (FFM; all non-adipose tissues) are increased and it remains unknown whether these compartments have separate effects on human brain morphology. We used voxel-based morphometry to investigate the relationships between measures of body composition and regional gray matter volume (GMV) in 76 healthy adults with a wide range of adiposity (24F/52M; age 32.1±8.8y; percentage of body fat [PFAT%] 25.5±10.9%; BMI 29.8±8.9). Faf-free mass index (FFMI kg*m-2) showed negative associations in bilateral temporal regions, the bilateral medial and caudolateral OFC, and the left insula. Fat mass index (FMI kg*m-2) showed similar, but less extensive negative associations within temporal cortical regions and the left caudolateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). In addition, negative associations were seen for FMI with GMV of the cerebellum. Associations of FFMI with temporal and medial orbitofrontal GMV appeared to be independent of adiposity. No associations were seen between measures of adiposity (i.e. FM and PFAT) and GMV when adjusted for FFM. The majority of regions that we find associated with FFM have been implicated in the regulation of eating behavior and show extensive projections to central autonomic and homeostatic core structures. These data indicate that not adipose tissue or relative adiposity itself, but obesity related increases in absolute tissue mass and particularly FFM may have a more predominant effect on the human brain. This might be explained by the high metabolic demand of FFM and related increases in total energy needs.
PMCID: PMC4178061  PMID: 22974975
Fat-free mass; fat mass; obesity; VBM; MRI; gray matter; prefrontal cortex
21.  A Statistical Parametric Mapping Toolbox Used for Voxel-Wise Analysis of FDG-PET Images of Rat Brain 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108295.
PET (positron emission tomography) imaging researches of functional metabolism using fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) of animal brain are important in neuroscience studies. FDG-PET imaging studies are often performed on groups of rats, so it is desirable to establish an objective voxel-based statistical methodology for group data analysis.
Material and Methods
This study establishes a statistical parametric mapping (SPM) toolbox (plug-ins) named spmratIHEP for voxel-wise analysis of FDG-PET images of rat brain, in which an FDG-PET template and an intracranial mask image of rat brain in Paxinos & Watson space were constructed, and the default settings were modified according to features of rat brain. Compared to previous studies, our constructed rat brain template comprises not only the cerebrum and cerebellum, but also the whole olfactory bulb which made the later cognitive studies much more exhaustive. And with an intracranial mask image in the template space, the brain tissues of individuals could be extracted automatically. Moreover, an atlas space is used for anatomically labeling the functional findings in the Paxinos & Watson space. In order to standardize the template image with the atlas accurately, a synthetic FDG-PET image with six main anatomy structures is constructed from the atlas, which performs as a target image in the co-registration.
The spatial normalization procedure is evaluated, by which the individual rat brain images could be standardized into the Paxinos & Watson space successfully and the intracranial tissues could also be extracted accurately. The practical usability of this toolbox is evaluated using FDG-PET functional images from rats with left side middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in comparison to normal control rats. And the two-sample t-test statistical result is almost related to the left side MCA.
We established a toolbox of SPM8 named spmratIHEP for voxel-wise analysis of FDG-PET images of rat brain.
PMCID: PMC4178133  PMID: 25259529
22.  Postprandial Plasma PYY Concentrations are Associated with Increased Regional Gray Matter Volume and rCBF Declines in Caudate Nuclei – a combined MRI and H215O PET study 
NeuroImage  2011;60(1):592-600.
The anorexigenic gastrointestinal hormone Peptide YY plays an important role in the communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. PYY has been shown to modulate brain activity in regions implicated in reward and food related behavior. Its effects on brain structure however, remain unknown. Voxel-based morphometry was used to investigate the relationship between fasting and postprandial plasma PYY concentrations and regional gray matter volume (GMV). For this analysis twenty adult, non diabetic Caucasians were included (18F/2M, age 31±9 y, percentage of body fat [PFAT] 32±8%) who had volumetric brain magnetic resonance images and underwent H215O positron emission tomographic (PET) measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), a marker of local neuronal activity, and measurements of plasma total PYY, prior to (fasting) and following a satiating liquid meal. Voxel-wise analysis revealed a regional positive association between postprandial PYY and gray matter volume bilaterally in the caudate nuclei. These associations remained significant (p<0.05) after small volume correction for multiple comparisons. Based on these findings we investigated whether postprandial PYY is associated with PET measured rCBF of the caudate nucleus. We found a significant negative association between average postprandial caudate rCBF and postprandial plasma PYY concentrations (r=−0.60, p<0.02, age, sex and PFAT adjusted). Average postprandial caudate rCBF was also negatively associated with rCBF in the right medial orbitofrontal cortex and the right hippocampal formation (p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparison). Total PYY is positively associated with gray matter but negatively with postprandial activity in the caudate nuclei while caudate activity is negatively associated with rCBF in prefrontal and paralimbic regions implicated in reward behavior. Thus, PYY may act centrally to modulate eating behavior via striatal networks.
PMCID: PMC4152947  PMID: 22206963
PYY; caudate nucleus; striatum; gray matter; VBM; MRI; PET; rCBF
23.  Genetic Susceptibility for Alzheimer’s Disease Neuritic Plaque Pathology 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(9):1150-1157.
To investigate whether Alzheimer’s disease (AD) susceptibility loci from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) impact neuritic plaque pathology and to additionally identify novel risk loci for this trait.
Candidate analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and GWAS in a joint clinicopathologic cohort study, followed by targeted validation in independent neuroimaging cohorts.
Participants and Setting
725 deceased subjects from the Religious Orders and Rush Memory and Aging Project, two prospective, community-based studies of aging; the validation neuroimaging cohort consisted of 114 subjects from multiple clinical and research centers.
Main Outcome Measures
A quantitative measure of neuritic plaque pathologic burden, based on assessments of silver-stained tissue averaged from multiple brain regions. Validation based on β-amyloid load by immunocytochemistry, and replication with fibrillar β-amyloid Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging with Pittsburgh Compound B or florbetapir.
Besides the previously reported APOE and CR1 loci, we find that ABCA7 (rs3764650, P=0.02) and CD2AP (rs9349407, P=0.03) AD susceptibility loci are associated with neuritic plaque burden. In addition, among the top results of our GWAS, we discovered a novel variant near the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP, rs2829887) that is associated with neuritic plaques (P=3.3×10−6). This polymorphism was associated with postmortem β-amyloid load, as well as fibrillar β-amyloid in two independent cohorts of adults with normal cognition.
These findings enhance understanding of AD risk factors by relating validated susceptibility alleles to increased neuritic plaque pathology and implicate common genetic variation at the APP locus in the earliest, pre-symptomatic stages of AD.
PMCID: PMC3773291  PMID: 23836404
24.  A Rat Brain MRI Template with Digital Stereotaxic Atlas of Fine Anatomical Delineations in Paxinos Space and its Automated Application in Voxel-Wise Analysis 
Human brain mapping  2012;34(6):1306-1318.
This study constructs a rat brain T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging template including olfactory bulb and a compatible digital atlas. The atlas contains 624 carefully delineated brain structures based on the newest (2005) edition of rat brain atlas by Paxinos and Watson. An automated procedure, as an SPM toolbox, was introduced for spatially normalizing individual rat brains, conducting statistical analysis and visually localizing the results in the Atlas coordinate space. The brain template/atlas and the procedure were evaluated using functional images between rats with the right side middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and normal controls. The result shows that the brain region with significant signal decline in the MCAO rats was consistent with the occlusion position.
PMCID: PMC4110061  PMID: 22287270
SD rat brain; MRI imaging analysis; SPM; normalization; location; co-registration
25.  Different Patterns of White Matter Disruption among Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Subtypes: Relationship with Neuropsychological Performance 
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is recognized as the prodromal phase of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Evidence showed that patients with multiple-domain (MD) aMCI were at higher risk of converting to dementia and exhibited more severe gray matter atrophy than single-domain (SD) aMCI. The investigation of the microstructural abnormalities of white matter (WM) among different subtypes of aMCI and their relations with cognitive performances can help to understand the variations among aMCI subtypes and to construct potential imaging based biomarkers to monitor the progression of aMCI. Diffusion-weighted MRI data were acquired from 40 patients with aMCI (aMCI-SD: n = 19; aMCI-MD: n= 21) and 37 healthy controls (HC). Voxel-wise and atlas-based analyses of whole-brain WM were performed among three groups. The correlations between the altered diffusion metrics of the WM tracts and the neuropsychological scores in each subtype of aMCI were assessed. The aMCI-MD patients showed disrupted integrity in multiple WM tracts across the whole-brain when compared with HCs or with aMCI-SD. In contrast, only few WM regions with diffusion changes were found in aMCI-SD as compared to HCs and with less significance. For neuropsychological correlations, only aMCI-MD patients exhibited significant associations between disrupted WM connectivity (in the body of the corpus callosum and the right anterior internal capsules) and cognitive impairments (MMSE and Digit Symb-Coding scores), whereas no such correlations were found in aMCI-SD. These findings indicate that the degeneration extensively exists in WM tracts in aMCI-MD that precedes the development of AD, whereas underlying WM pathology in aMCI-SD is imperceptible. The results are consistent with the view that aMCI is not a uniform disease entity and presents heterogeneity in the clinical progression.
PMCID: PMC4085483  PMID: 23603396
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment; diffusion tensor imaging; multiple-domain; single-domain; TBSS; white matter

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