Stress-response biological systems are altered in alcohol-dependent individuals and are reported to predict future relapse. This study was designed to assess neural disruptions in alcohol-dependent participants when exposed to a conditioned stimulus (CS) warning of the impending onset of a universal, nonpersonalized stressor.
Fifteen alcohol-dependent men abstinent for 3 to 5 weeks and 15 age- and race-similar healthy controls were studied. Anticipatory anxiety was induced by a CS paired with an uncertain, physically painful unconditioned stressor. Neural response was assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Both groups experienced significant, similar levels of anticipatory anxiety in response to the high-threat relative to the low-threat CS. Whereas control participants markedly increased the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) amplitude in cortical–limbic–striatal regions during the high-threat, relative to low-threat, stimulus, alcohol-dependent participants decreased BOLD amplitude in the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pgACC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), medial orbitofrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), bilateral parietal/occipital cortex, and right hippocampus. Alcohol-dependent participants significantly deactivated pgACC/mPFC and PCC clusters, relative to controls, during the high- versus low-threat stimulus. This difference was due to a decrease in %BOLD amplitude during the high-threat stimulus in the alcohol-dependent, but not the control, participants.
Alcohol-dependent men show cortical–limbic–striatal deactivation during anticipatory anxiety, particularly in regions associated with emotional regulation. These findings suggest a lack of engagement of affective regulatory mechanisms during high-stress situations in alcohol-dependent men.
Anticipatory Anxiety; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Emotional Stress; Alcoholism; Striatal–Limbic–Cortical System
While a great deal of literature has focused on risk factors for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), little published work examines risk for MCI among Mexican Americans.
Data from 1628 participants (non-Hispanic n= 1002; Mexican American n=626) were analyzed from two ongoing studies of cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease, Project FRONTIER and TARCC.
When looking at the full cohorts (non-Hispanic and Mexican American), age, education, APOE ε4 status and gender were consistently related to MCI diagnosis across the two cohorts. However, when split by ethnicity advancing age was the only significant risk factor for MCI among Mexican Americans across both cohorts.
The current data suggests that many of the previously established risk factors for MCI among non-Hispanic cohorts may not be predictive of MCI among Mexican Americans and point to the need for additional work aimed at understanding factors related to cognitive aging among this underserved segment of the population.
Mexican American; Mild Cognitive Impairment; cognition; Alzheimer’s disease; ethnicity; cross-cultural; risk factors
Identifying risk factors for increased β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition is important for targeting individuals most at risk for developing Alzheimer disease and informing clinical practice concerning prevention and early detection.
To investigate risk factors for Aβ deposition in cognitively healthy middle-aged and older adults. Specifically, we hypothesized that individuals with a vascular risk factor such as hypertension, in combination with a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (apolipoprotein E ε4 allele), would show greater amyloid burden than those without such risk.
One hundred eighteen well-screened and cognitively normal adults, aged 47 to 89 years. Participants were classified in the hypertension group if they reported a medical diagnosis of hypertension or if blood pressure exceeded 140 mm Hg systolic/90 mm Hg diastolic, as measured across 7 occasions at the time of study.
Participants underwent Aβ positron emission tomography imaging with radiotracer fluorine 18–labeled florbetapir. Participants were genotyped for apolipoprotein E and were classified as ε4+ or ε4−.
Main Outcome Measure
Participants in the hypertension group with at least 1 ε4 allele showed significantly greater amyloid burden than those with only 1 risk factor or no risk factors. Furthermore, increased pulse pressure was strongly associated with increased mean cortical amyloid level for subjects with at least 1 ε4 allele.
Conclusions and Relevance
Vascular disease is a prevalent age-related condition that is highly responsive to both behavioral modification and medical treatment. Proper control and prevention of risk factors such as hypertension earlier in the life span may be one potential mechanism to ameliorate or delay neuropathological brain changes with aging.
Addiction to cocaine is a chronic condition characterized by high rates of early relapse. This study builds on efforts to identify neural markers of relapse risk by studying resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in neural circuits arising from the amygdala, a brain region implicated in relapse-related processes including craving and reactivity to stress following acute and protracted withdrawal from cocaine. Whole-brain resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity (6 min) was assessed in 45 cocaine-addicted individuals and 22 healthy controls. Cocaine-addicted individuals completed scans in the final week of a residential treatment episode. To approximate preclinical models of relapse-related circuitry, separate seeds were derived for the left and right basolateral (BLA) and corticomedial (CMA) amygdala. Participants also completed the Iowa Gambling Task, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Cocaine Craving Questionnaire, Obsessive-Compulsive Cocaine Use Scale and Personality Inventory. Relapse within the first 30 days post-treatment (n = 24) was associated with reduced rsFC between the left CMA and ventromedial prefrontal cortex/rostral anterior cingulate cortex (vmPFC/rACC) relative to cocaine-addicted individuals who remained abstinent (non-relapse, n = 21). Non-relapse participants evidenced reduced rsFC between the bilateral BLA and visual processing regions (lingual gyrus/cuneus) compared to controls and relapsed participants. Early relapse was associated with fewer years of education but unrelated to trait reactivity to stress, neurocognitive and clinical characteristics or cocaine use history. Findings suggest that rsFC within neural circuits implicated in preclinical models of relapse may provide a promising marker of relapse risk in cocaine-addicted individuals. Future efforts to replicate the current findings and alter connectivity within these circuits may yield novel interventions and improve treatment outcomes.
cocaine; relapse; addiction; amygdala; connectivity; neuroimaging; ventromedial; prefrontal
To provide characterization of Mexican Americans who meet criteria for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
1069 participants ages 40 and above who self-identified as either non-Hispanic white (n=633) or Mexican American (n=436); were recruited using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. Global cognition was assessed via the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), dementia severity by the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR) and depression via the Geriatric Depression Scale 30-item version. Age, gender, education, ApoEε4 allele frequency and diabetic diagnoses were also analyzed.
Mexican Americans (normal controls, MCI and AD) were younger, less highly educated, performed more poorly on the MMSE, endorsed more symptoms of depression, were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and possessed the ApoEε4 allele less frequently. Age was the only significant risk factor for cognitive dysfunction (AD/MCI) among Mexican Americans (OR=1.06, 95% CI = 1.03–1.09). Age (B=0.07, std=0.02, p<0.001) and ApoEε4 presence (B=0.9, std=0.4, p=0.02) were significantly related to increased disease severity.
Given the rapidly growing and aging Mexican American population, there is a substantial need for research into cognitive aging, MCI and AD among this ethnic group. The current findings hold important implications for both clinic and research settings and point to additional research needs.
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Alzheimer’s disease; Mexican American; Hispanic; cognition; depression; diabetes
The aim of this study is to evaluate the link between CRP and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) among Mexican Americans.
Non-fasting serum CRP levels, MMSE scores and CDR scores were analyzed from 1,066 participants (Mexican American n=471, non-Hispanic n=595) of the Texas Alzheimer’s Research & Care Consortium (TARCC).
Among the total cohort, CRP levels among AD cases were significantly decreased as compared to normal controls (p<0.001) and MCI cases (p=0.002). CRP levels among MCI cases were decreased relative to controls (p=0.03). Among Mexican American and non-Hispanic AD cases, CRP levels were significantly decreased among AD cases as compared to controls. CRP levels were only associated with disease severity (CDR scores) among non-Hispanics (p=0.03) AD cases.
These results show that, while CRP levels are decreased among Mexican American AD cases, CRP appears to not be related to clinical variables as it is among non-Hispanic whites.
C-Reactive Protein; Alzheimer’s disease; Mexican American; Neuropsychology
Mexican Americans are the fastest aging segment of the U.S. population yet little scientific literature exists regarding the Alzheimer disease (AD) among this segment of the population. The extant literature suggests that biomarkers of AD will vary according to race/ethnicity though no prior work has explicitly studied this possibility. The aim of this study was to create a serum-based biomarker profile of AD among Mexican American.
Data were analyzed from 363 Mexican American participants (49 AD and 314 normal controls) enrolled in the Texas Alzheimer’s Research & Care Consortium (TARCC). Non-fasting serum samples were analyzed using a luminex-based multi-plex platform. A biomarker profile was generated using random forest analyses.
The biomarker profile of AD among Mexican Americans was different from prior work from non-Hispanic populations with regards to the variable importance plots. In fact, many of the top markers were related to metabolic factors (e.g. FABP, GLP-1, CD40, pancreatic polypeptide, insulin-like-growth factor, and insulin). The biomarker profile was a significant classifier of AD status yielding an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), sensitivity (SN) and specificity (SP) of 0.77, 0.92 and 0.64, respectively. Combining biomarkers with clinical variables yielded a better balance of SN and SP.
The biomarker profile for AD among Mexican American cases is significantly different from that previously identified among non-Hispanic cases from many large-scale studies. This is the first study to explicitly examine and provide support for blood-based biomarkers of AD among Mexican Americans. Areas for future research are highlighted.
Biomarkers; Mexican American; Alzheimer’s disease; Neuropsychology
Anxiety experienced in anticipation of impending aversive events induces striatal-limbic activation. However, previous functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) studies of anticipatory anxiety have utilized post-test measures of anxiety, making a direct association between neural activation and distress problematic. This paradigm was designed to assess the BOLD response to an aversive conditioned stimulus while simultaneously measuring subjective anxiety. Fifteen male healthy subjects (45.5±8.5 years old) were studied. A high threat conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with either an unpredictable, highly aversive (painful) or a non-aversive (non-painful) unconditioned stimulus and compared to a low threat CS paired with a predictable, non-aversive stimulus. Neural response was assessed with fMRI, and subjective anxiety (1 to 4) was recorded upon the presentation of each CS. High subjective ratings of real-time anticipatory anxiety (2, 3, and 4), relative to low anticipatory anxiety (1), elicited increased activation in the bilateral striatum, bilateral orbital frontal cortex, left anterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and decreased activation in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). The amplitude of BOLD signal change generally paralleled the subjective rating of anxiety. Real-time measures of anticipatory anxiety confirm previous reports, using post-test measures of anxiety, of striatal-limbic activation during anticipatory anxiety while simultaneously demonstrating an increase in BOLD response in parallel with heightened anxiety.
striatal-limbic system; striatum; anticipatory anxiety; functional magnetic resonance imaging
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is crucial for the inhibition of extraneous stimuli, evaluation of aversive information, and emotional regulation – all behaviors impaired in cocaine addiction. Previous studies suggest that cocaine-addicted subjects have decreased basal activity in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). In this study, we examined regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during a saline infusion in two independent populations of abstinent cocaine- (and mostly nicotine-) addicted (n=33 and 26) and healthy control (n=35 and 20) men and women. Isolated rCBF decreases (p<0.001) were observed in the left caudolateral OFC, as well as left superior temporal cortex, in cocaine-addicted subjects relative to controls in both cohorts and bilaterally in the combined cohort. An anatomically defined region of the caudolateral OFC showed similar findings and were evident in both male and female addicted subjects. The reliability of these findings across two cohorts reveals a functional disruption in the lateral OFC, a brain region implicated in the evaluation of behavior-terminating stimuli. This may contribute to an addicted individual’s persistent drug use despite negative consequences.
Florbetapir F 18 PET can image amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates in the brains of living subjects. We prospectively evaluated the prognostic utility of detecting Aβ pathology using florbetapir PET in subjects at risk for progressive cognitive decline.
A total of 151 subjects who previously participated in a multicenter florbetapir PET imaging study were recruited for longitudinal assessment. Subjects included 51 with recently diagnosed mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 69 cognitively normal controls (CN), and 31 with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer disease dementia (AD). PET images were visually scored as positive (Aβ+) or negative (Aβ−) for pathologic levels of β-amyloid aggregation, blind to diagnostic classification. Cerebral to cerebellar standardized uptake value ratios (SUVr) were determined from the baseline PET images. Subjects were followed for 18 months to evaluate changes in cognition and diagnostic status. Analysis of covariance and correlation analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between baseline PET amyloid status and subsequent cognitive decline.
In both MCI and CN, baseline Aβ+ scans were associated with greater clinical worsening on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale–Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog (p < 0.01) and Clinical Dementia Rating–sum of boxes (CDR-SB) (p < 0.02). In MCI Aβ+ scans were also associated with greater decline in memory, Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (p < 0.05). In MCI, higher baseline SUVr similarly correlated with greater subsequent decline on the ADAS-Cog (p < 0.01), CDR-SB (p < 0.03), a memory measure, DSS, and MMSE (p < 0.05). Aβ+ MCI tended to convert to AD dementia at a higher rate than Aβ− subjects (p < 0.10).
Florbetapir PET may help identify individuals at increased risk for progressive cognitive decline.
To characterize the white matter structural changes at the tract level and tract group level, comprehensive analysis with four metrics derived from DTI, fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AxD) and radial diffusivity (RD), was conducted. Tract groups, namely limbic, commissural, association and projection tracts, include white matter tracts of similar functions. DTI data were acquired from 61 subjects (26 AD, 11 subjects with amnestic mild cognitive impairment or aMCI, 24 age-matched controls). An atlas-based approach was used to survey 30 major cerebral white matter tracts with the measurements of FA, MD, AxD and RD. Regional cortical atrophy and cognitive functions of AD patients were also measured to correlate with the structural changes of white matter. Synchronized structural changes of cingulum bundle and fornix, both of which are part of limbic tract group, were revealed. Widespread yet distinctive structural changes were found in limbic, commissural, association and projection tract groups between control and AD subjects. Specifically, FA, MD and RD of limbic tracts, FA, MD, AxD and RD of commissural tracts, MD, AxD and RD of association tracts and MD and AxD of projection tracts are significantly different between AD patients and control subjects. In contrast, the comparison between aMCI and control subjects shows disruption only in the limbic and commissural tract groups of aMCI subjects. MD values of all tract groups of AD patients are significantly correlated to cognitive functions. Difference between AD and control and that between MCI and control indicates a progression pattern of white matter disruption from limbic and commissural tract group to other tract groups. High correlation between FA, MD and RD measurements from limbic tracts and cortical atrophy suggests the disruption of the limbic tract group is caused by the neuronal damage.
Alzheimer’s disease; atlas; DTI; white matter tract; tract group; biomarker
Limited functional imaging evidence suggests increased beta-amyloid deposition is associated with alterations in brain function, even in healthy older adults. However, the majority of these findings report on resting-state activity or functional connectivity in adults over age 60. Much less is known about the impact of beta-amyloid on neural activations during cognitive task performance, or the impact of amyloid in young and middle-aged adults. The current study measured beta-amyloid burden from PET imaging using18Florbetapir, in a large continuous age sample of highly-screened, healthy adults (N = 137; aged 30–89 years). The same participants also underwent fMRI scanning, performing a memory encoding task. Using both beta-amyloid burden and age as continuous predictors of encoding activity, we report a dose-response relationship of beta-amyloid load to neural function, beyond the effects of age. Specifically, individuals with greater amyloid burden evidence less neural activation in bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region important for memory encoding, as well as reduced neural modulation in areas associated with default network activity: bilateral superior/medial frontal and lateral temporal cortex. Importantly, this reduction of both activation and suppression as a function of amyloid load was found across the lifespan, even in young- and middle-aged individuals. Moreover, this frontal and temporal amyloid-reduced activation/suppression was associated with poorer processing speed, verbal fluency, and fluid reasoning in a subgroup of individuals with elevated amyloid, suggesting that it is detrimental, rather than compensatory in nature.
We present a generalization of mean-centered-partial-least-squares-correlation called multiblock-barycentric-discriminant-analysis (MUBADA) that integrates multiple regions of interest (ROIs) to analyze functional brain images of cerebral blood flow or metabolism obtained with SPECT or PET. To illustrate MUBABDA we analyzed data from a group of 104 participants comprising Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) patients, and elderly normal (EN) controls. Brain images were analyzed via 28 ROIs (59,845 voxels) selected for clinical relevance. This is a discriminant analysis (DA) question with several blocks (one per ROI) and with more variables than observations, a configuration that precludes using standard DA. MUBADA revealed two factors explaining 74% and 26% of the total variance: Factor 1 isolated FTD, and Factor 2 isolated AD. A MUBADA random effects model correctly classified 64% (chance = 33%) of “new” participants (p < .0001). MUBADA identified ROIs that best discriminated groups: ROIs separating FTD were bilateral inferior, middle frontal, left inferior and middle temporal gyri, while ROIs separating AD were bilateral thalamus, inferior parietal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, left precuneus, middle frontal, and middle temporal gyri. MUBADA classified participants at levels comparable to standard methods (i.e., SVM, PCA-LDA, and PLS-DA) but provided information (e.g., discriminative ROIs and voxels) not easily accessible to these methods.
MUBADA; BADA; discriminant analysis; multiblock analysis; PLS methods; partial least squares correlation; neuroimaging; SPECT; PET; dementia
Pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (PCASL) MRI is a relatively new ASL technique and has the potential to extend the CBF measurement to all tissue types, including the white matter. However, arterial transit time (δa) for the white matter is not well established and a limited number of reports using multi-delay methods have yielded inconsistent findings. In the present study, we took a different approach and measured white matter δa, 1541±173 ms (mean±SD), by determining arrival times of exogenous contrast agent in a bolus tracking experiment. The data also confirmed δa of the gray matter as 912±209 ms. In the second part of this study, we used these parameters in PCASL kinetic models and compared relative CBF (rCBF, with respect to the whole brain) maps to those measured using a SPECT technique. It was found that the use of tissue-specific δa in the PCASL model was helpful in improving the correspondence between the two modalities. On a regional level, the gray/white matter CBF ratios were 2.47±0.39 and 2.44±0.18 for PCASL and SPECT, respectively. On a single voxel level, the variance between the modalities was still considerable, with an average rCBF difference of 0.27.
arterial spin labeling; cerebral blood flow; contrast agent; PCASL; perfusion; SPECT
To investigate predictors of missing data in a longitudinal study of Alzheimer disease (AD).
The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is a clinic-based, multicenter, longitudinal study with blood, CSF, PET, and MRI scans repeatedly measured in 229 participants with normal cognition (NC), 397 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 193 with mild AD during 2005–2007. We used univariate and multivariable logistic regression models to examine the associations between baseline demographic/clinical features and loss of biomarker follow-ups in ADNI.
CSF studies tended to recruit and retain patients with MCI with more AD-like features, including lower levels of baseline CSF Aβ42. Depression was the major predictor for MCI dropouts, while family history of AD kept more patients with AD enrolled in PET and MRI studies. Poor cognitive performance was associated with loss of follow-up in most biomarker studies, even among NC participants. The presence of vascular risk factors seemed more critical than cognitive function for predicting dropouts in AD.
The missing data are not missing completely at random in ADNI and likely conditional on certain features in addition to cognitive function. Missing data predictors vary across biomarkers and even MCI and AD groups do not share the same missing data pattern. Understanding the missing data structure may help in the design of future longitudinal studies and clinical trials in AD.
Diffusion tensor tractography is increasingly used to examine structural connectivity in the brain in various conditions, but its test-retest reliability is understudied. The main purposes of this study were to evaluate 1) the reliability of quantitative measurements of diffusion tensor tractography and 2) the effect on reliability of the number of gradient sampling directions and scan repetition. Images were acquired from ten healthy participants. Ten fiber regions of nine major fiber tracts were reconstructed and quantified using six fiber variables. Intra- and inter-session reliabilities were estimated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV), and compared to pinpoint major error sources. Additional pairwise comparisons were made between the reliability of images with 30 directions and NEX 2 (DTI30-2), 30 directions and NEX 1 (DTI30-1), and 15 directions and NEX 2 (DTI15-2) to determine whether increasing gradient directions and scan repetition improved reliability. Of the 60 tractography measurements, 43 showed intersession CV ≤ 10%, ICC ≥ .70, or both for DTI30-2, 40 measurements for DTI30-1, and 37 for DTI15-2. Most of the reliable measurements were associated with the tracts corpus callosum, cingulum, cerebral peduncular fibers, uncinate fasciculus, and arcuate fasciculus. These reliable measurements included factional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity of all 10 fiber regions. Intersession reliability was significantly worse than intra-session reliability for FA, mean length, and tract volume measurements from DTI15-2, indicating that the combination of MRI signal variation and physiological noise/change over time was the major error source for this sequence. Increasing the number of gradient directions from 15 to 30 while controlling the scan time, significantly affected values for all six variables and reduced intersession variability for mean length and tract volume measurements. Additionally, while increasing scan repetition from 1 to 2 had no significant effect on the reliability for DTI with 30 directions, this significantly reduced the upward bias in FA values from all 10 fiber regions and fiber count, mean length, and tract volume measurements from 5-7 fiber regions. In conclusion, diffusion tensor tractography provided many measurements with high test-retest reliability across different fiber variables and various fiber tracts even for images with 15 directions (NEX 2). Increasing the number of gradient directions from 15 to 30 with equivalent scan time reduced variability whereas increasing repetition from 1 to 2 for 30-direction DTI improved the accuracy of tractography measurements.
reliability; diffusion tensor imaging; tractography; variability; white matter; fiber tracts
To determine the spatial distribution of cortical and subcortical volume loss in patients with diffuse traumatic axonal injury and to assess the relationship between regional atrophy and functional outcome.
Prospective imaging study. Longitudinal changes in global and regional brain volumes were assessed using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based morphometric analysis.
Inpatient traumatic brain injury unit
Patients or Other Participants
Twenty-five patients with diffuse traumatic axonal injury and 22 age- and sex-matched controls.
Main Outcome Measure
Changes in global and regional brain volumes between initial and follow-up MRI were used to assess the spatial distribution of post-traumatic volume loss. The Glasgow Outcome Scale – Extended was the primary measure of functional outcome.
Patients underwent substantial global atrophy with mean brain parenchymal volume loss of 4.5% (95% Confidence Interval: 2.7 – 6.3%). Decreases in volume (at a false discovery rate of 0.05) were seen in several brain regions including the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, corpus callosum, putamen, precuneus, postcentral gyrus, paracentral lobule, and parietal and frontal cortices, while other regions such as the caudate and inferior temporal cortex were relatively resistant to atrophy. Loss of whole brain parenchymal volume was predictive of long-term disability, as was atrophy of particular brain regions including the inferior parietal cortex, pars orbitalis, pericalcarine cortex, and supramarginal gyrus.
Traumatic axonal injury leads to substantial post-traumatic atrophy that is regionally selective rather than diffuse, and volume loss in certain regions may have prognostic value for functional recovery.
Diffuse traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) characterized predominantly by white matter damage. While TAI is associated with cerebral atrophy, the relationship between gray matter volumes and TAI of afferent or efferent axonal pathways remains unknown. Moreover, it is unclear if deficits in cognition are associated with post-traumatic brain volumes in particular regions. The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between markers of TAI and volumes of cortical and subcortical structures, while also assessing the relationship between cognitive outcomes and regional brain volumes. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed in 24 patients with TAI within 1 week of injury and were repeated 8 months later. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to reconstruct prominent white matter tracts and calculate their fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values. Regional brain volumes were computed using semi-automated morphometric analysis. Pearson's correlation coefficients were used to assess associations between brain volumes, white matter integrity (i.e., FA and MD), and neuropsychological outcomes. Post-traumatic volumes of many gray matter structures were associated with chronic damage to related white matter tracts, and less strongly associated with measures of white matter integrity in the acute scans. For example, left and right hippocampal volumes correlated with FA in the fornix body (r = 0.600, p = 0.001; r = 0.714, p < 0.001, respectively). In addition, regional brain volumes were associated with deficits in corresponding neuropsychological domains. Our results suggest that TAI may be a primary mechanism of post-traumatic atrophy, and provide support for regional morphometry as a biomarker for cognitive outcome after injury.
atrophy; diffuse axonal injury; diffusion tensor imaging; traumatic brain injury; volumetric magnetic resonance imaging
Changes in the brain's cholinergic receptor systems underlie several neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and depression. An emerging preclinical literature also reveals that acetylcoholine may have an important function in addictive processes, including reward, learning, and memory. This study was designed to assess alterations in cholinergic receptor systems in limbic regions of abstinent cocaine-addicted subjects compared with healthy controls. On three separate days, 23 1- to 6-week abstinent, cocaine- (and mostly nicotine-) addicted subjects and 22 sex-, age-, and race-matched control subjects were administered the muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic agonist physostigmine, the muscarinic antagonist scopolamine, and saline. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) after each infusion was determined using single photon emission-computed tomography. Both cholinergic probes induced rCBF changes (p<0.005) in relatively distinct, cholinergic-rich, limbic brain regions. After physostigmine, cocaine-addicted subjects showed altered rCBF, relative to controls, in limbic regions, including the left hippocampus, left amygdala, and right insula. Group differences in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and middle temporal gyrus were also evident. Scopolamine also revealed group differences in the left hippocampus and right insula as well as the posterior cingulate and middle temporal gyrus. Cocaine addicted and controls differ in their subcortical, limbic, and cortical response to cholinergic probes in areas relevant to craving, learning, and memory. Cholinergic systems may offer a pharmacologic target for cocaine addiction treatment.
addiction and substance abuse; imaging; clinical or preclinical; acetylcholine; biological psychiatry; cocaine addiction; Acetylcholine; Addiction & Substance Abuse; Biological Psychiatry; cocaine addiction; Imaging; Clinical or Preclinical
To examine the functional connectivity (fc) of hippocampal and selected frontal lobe circuits among patients with traumatic axonal injury (TAI).
Echo-planar and high-resolution T1-weighted images were acquired using 3 Tesla scanners. Regions of interest (ROI) were drawn bilaterally for the hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and were used to extract time series data. BOLD data from each ROI were used as reference functions for correlating with all other brain voxels. Interhermispheric fc was assessed for each participant by correlating homologous regions using a Pearson correlation coefficient. Patient functional and neurocognitive outcomes were assessed approximately 6 months post-injury.
Patients were recruited within days of their injury while in an inpatient traumatic brain injury unit. Imaging and neurocognitive assessments were conducted in an outpatient research facility.
25 consecutive patients with brain injuries consistent with TAI and acute subcortical white matter abnormalities were studied. Sixteen healthy volunteers of similar age and gender were recruited.
Main Outcome Measures
Interhemispheric fc for each ROI was compared between patients and controls. Spatial patterns of fc were examined for each of the three ROIs. Connectivity measures were examined for associations with functional and neurocognitive outcomes.
Patients showed significantly lower interhemispheric fc for the hippocampus and ACC. Healthy controls demonstrate stronger and more focused fc for hippocampi and ACC, and a more focused recruitment of the default mode network for the DLPFC ROI. The interhemispheric fc for the hippocampus was correlated to delayed recall of verbal information.
Our findings suggest that traumatic axonal injury impacts interhemispheric neural activity, as patients with TAI show disrupted interhemipsheric fc. These results suggest more careful investigation of interhemisheric connectivity is warranted, as it demonstrated a modest association with outcome in chronic TBI.
Traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is a common mechanism of traumatic brain injury not readily identified using conventional neuroimaging modalities. Novel imaging modalities such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can detect microstructural compromise in white matter (WM) in various clinical populations including TAI. DTI-derived data can be analyzed using global methods (i.e., WM histogram or voxel based approaches) or a regional approach (i.e., tractography). While each of these methods produce qualitatively comparable results, it is not clear which is most useful in clinical research and ultimately in clinical practice. This study compared three methods of analyzing DTI-derived data with regard to detection of WM injury and their association with clinical outcomes. Thirty patients with TAI and 19 demographically similar normal controls were scanned using a 3T magnet. Patients were scanned approximately eight months post-injury, and underwent an outcomes assessment at that time. Histogram analysis of FA and MD showed global WM integrity differences between patients and controls. Voxel-based and tractography analyses showed significant decreases in FA within centroaxial structures involved in TAI. All three techniques were associated with functional and cognitive outcomes. DTI measures of microstructural integrity appear robust, as the three analysis techniques studied showed adequate utility for detecting WM injury.
DTI; DAI; Traumatic Brain Injury; memory; Tractography; cognitive outcomes
A vascular component is increasingly recognized as important in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We measured cerebral blood volume (CBV) in patients with probable AD or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and in elderly non-demented subjects using a recently developed Vascular-Space-Occupancy (VASO) MRI technique. While both gray and white matters were examined, significant CBV deficit regions were primarily located in white matter, specifically in frontal and parietal lobes, in which CBV was reduced by 20% in the AD/MCI group. The regions with CBV deficit also showed reduced tissue structural integrity as indicated by increased apparent diffusion coefficients, whereas in regions without CBV deficits no such correlation was found. Subjects with lower CBV tended to have more white matter lesions in FLAIR MRI images and showed slower psychomotor speed. These data suggest that the vascular contribution in AD is primarily localized to frontal/parietal white matter and is associated with brain tissue integrity.
Alzheimer's disease; Cerebral blood volume; Cerebral blood flow; VASO; MRI; Tissue integrity
Recent studies suggest that some of cocaine’s central nervous system (CNS) effects may be mediated through its sodium channel inhibiting local anesthetic properties. Local anesthetics that lack cocaine’s strong affinity for the dopamine transporter (DAT) also produce sensory and mood effects, further suggesting a role for this neural pathway. Due to an absence of affinity at the DAT, the local anesthetic lidocaine may offer the potential to assess sodium channel activity in vivo in humans. To assess the utility of lidocaine as a CNS probe, we determined regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) following the intravenous administration of lidocaine (0.5 mg/kg) and compared this response to procaine (0.5 mg/kg and 1.0 mg/kg), a local anesthetic with partial affinity for the DAT, and saline. Infusions were administered in nine healthy female controls over a ten-day period with at least two days between each scan. Increased rCBF was observed following lidocaine, relative to saline, in the insula, caudate, thalamus, thalamus, and posterior cingulate. Decreased rCBF was detected in a different region of the posterior cingulate. In general, increases in rCBF were more marked following lidocaine relative to procaine. Mood and sensory changes following lidocaine were limited and significantly less than those induced by either dose of procaine. There were no significant changes in blood pressure or heart rate following either medication. These findings suggest that lidocaine can be safely used to assess sodium channel function in persons with addictive and other psychiatric disorders.
Tomography; Emission-Computed; Single-Photon; Lidocaine; Humans; Anesthetics; Local; Procaine; Limbic system; Basal ganglia
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a pathologically heterogeneous disease, including injury to both neuronal cell bodies and axonal processes. Global atrophy of both gray and white matter is common after TBI. This study was designed to determine the relationship between neuroimaging markers of acute diffuse axonal injury (DAI) and cerebral atrophy months later. We performed high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 Tesla (T) in 20 patients who suffered non-penetrating TBI, during the acute (within 1 month after the injury) and chronic stage (at least 6 months after the injury). Volume of abnormal fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) signal seen in white matter in both acute and follow-up scans was quantified. White and gray matter volumes were also quantified. Functional outcome was measured using the Functional Status Examination (FSE) at the time of the chronic scan. Change in brain volumes, including whole brain volume (WBV), white matter volume (WMV), and gray matter volume (GMV), correlates significantly with acute DAI volume (r = −0.69, −0.59, −0.58, respectively; p < 0.01 for all). Volume of acute FLAIR hyperintensities correlates with volume of decreased FLAIR signal in the follow-up scans (r = −0.86, p < 0.001). FSE performance correlates with acute hyperintensity volume and chronic cerebral atrophy (r = 0.53, p = 0.02; r = −0.45, p = 0.03, respectively). Acute axonal lesions measured by FLAIR imaging are strongly predictive of post-traumatic cerebral atrophy. Our findings suggest that axonal pathology measured as white matter lesions following TBI can be identified using MRI, and may be a useful measure for DAI-directed therapies.
MR imaging; post-traumatic atrophy; TBI
The different clinical trajectories of cocaine-dependent men and women may be a consequence of distinct neurobiological substrates. Hypoperfusion of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has previously been reported in individuals addicted to cocaine and has been posited as a biological mediator of relapse due to impulsivity or impaired decision making.
This study assessed regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) between abstinent cocaine-dependent men and women and sex-matched healthy controls.
Cocaine-dependent subjects were abstinent from cocaine for 11 to 28 days and had no other major mental health or substance use disorders. rCBF was assessed with single photon emission computed tomography after administration of a placebo saline infusion. A resting scan was also obtained in a subset of cocaine-dependent and control men.
In the 35 cocaine-dependent and 37 healthy control subjects examined, a sex-by-group effect was observed for the left lateral (P = 0.001), right lateral (P = 0.002), and medial (P < 0.02) OFC. Cocaine-dependent men demonstrated significantly lower right and left lateral, but not medial, OFC rCBF compared with sex-matched healthy controls after placebo infusion (P ≤ 0.001). Similar bilateral OFC decreases were observed in male cocaine-dependent subjects at rest. In contrast, cocaine-dependent women showed lower rCBF in the medial, but not lateral, OFC relative to sex-matched healthy controls after placebo infusion (P < 0.01). Male cocaine-dependent subjects also showed decreased rCBF (P < 0.01) in the bilateral anterolateral temporal cortex and anterior cingulate, whereas decreased rCBF was observed in female cocaine-dependent subjects in the bilateral superior frontal gyri. Large and diffuse areas of increased rCBF were observed after placebo infusion in cocaine-dependent men, but not in women, relative to sex-matched healthy controls.
rCBF appears to be reduced in the bilateral OFC in cocaine-dependent men and in the medial OFC in cocaine-dependent women. Sex differences in the medial and lateral OFC rCBF may be relevant to understanding relapse characteristics differentiating men and women addicted to cocaine.
cocaine-related disorders; female; gender; orbitofrontal cortex; single-photon emission-computed tomography