White matter alterations in early-stage Alzheimer's disease: A tract-specific study

Qiuting Wen, Sourajit M. Mustafi, Junjie Li, Shannon L. Risacher, Eileen Tallman, Steven A. Brown, John D. West, Jaroslaw Harezlak, Martin R. Farlow, Frederick W. Unverzagt, Sujuan Gao, Liana G. Apostolova, Andrew J. Saykin, Yu Chien Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging may allow for microscopic characterization of white matter degeneration in early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Methods: Multishell Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 100 participants (40 cognitively normal, 38 with subjective cognitive decline, and 22 with mild cognitive impairment [MCI]). White matter microscopic degeneration in 27 major tracts of interest was assessed using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging, and q-space imaging. Results: Lower DTI fractional anisotropy and higher radial diffusivity were observed in the cingulum, thalamic radiation, and forceps major of participants with MCI. These tracts of interest also had the highest predictive power to discriminate groups. Diffusion metrics were associated with cognitive performance, particularly Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test immediate recall, with the highest association observed in participants with MCI. Discussion: While DTI was the most sensitive, neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging and q-space imaging complementarily characterized reduced axonal density accompanied with dispersed and less restricted white matter microstructures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-587
Number of pages12
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Diffusion imaging
  • MCI
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • SCD
  • Tract
  • Tractography
  • White matter
  • diffusion tensor imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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