Sulcal morphology changes and their relationship with cortical thickness and gyral white matter volume in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease

Kiho Im, Jong-Min Lee, Sang Won Seo, Sun Hyung Kim, Sun I Kim, Duk L Na
NeuroImage 2008 October 15, 43 (1): 103-13
We investigated the changes of sulcal shape (average mean curvature in folded regions and sulcal depth) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) using quantitative surface-based methods in a large sample of magnetic resonance imaging data. Moreover, we observed their relationships with cortical thickness and gyral white matter (WM) volume, while considering age effect. This study involved 85 normal controls (n [men/women]: 36/49, age [mean+/-SD]: 71.1+/-4.9 years), and 100 MCI (44/56, 71.8+/-6.5) and 145 AD subjects (53/92, 72.7+/-7.3). We found significantly lower average mean curvature (greater sulcal widening) and shallower sulcal depth with disease progression from controls to MCI and MCI to AD. The most remarkable change in MCI and AD was sulcal widening observed in the temporal lobe (average mean curvature, control [mean]: 0.564, MCI: 0.534 (5.3% decrease from control), AD: 0.486 (13.8% and 9.0% decrease from control and MCI respectively)). Of the four measurements, the sulcal widening measurement showed the highest sensitivity in revealing group differences between control and MCI, which might be useful for detecting early dementia. Significant reductions in cortical thickness and gyral WM volume also occurred in MCI and AD. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that a wider and shallower sulcal shape was primarily associated with decreased cortical thickness and gyral WM volume in each group. Age-related trends for the sulcal shape were not strongly found when cortical thickness and gyral WM volume were considered.

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