Publications by authors named "Beatriz Bosch"

48 Publications

Multi-cohort profiling reveals elevated CSF levels of brain-enriched proteins in Alzheimer's disease.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2021 Jul 15;8(7):1456-1470. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Division of Affinity Proteomics, Department of Protein Science, SciLifeLab, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Objective: Decreased amyloid beta (Aβ) 42 together with increased tau and phospho-tau in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is indicative of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the molecular pathophysiology underlying the slowly progressive cognitive decline observed in AD is not fully understood and it is not known what other CSF biomarkers may be altered in early disease stages.

Methods: We utilized an antibody-based suspension bead array to analyze levels of 216 proteins in CSF from AD patients, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and controls from two independent cohorts collected within the AETIONOMY consortium. Two additional cohorts from Sweden were used for biological verification.

Results: Six proteins, amphiphysin (AMPH), aquaporin 4 (AQP4), cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein 21 (ARPP21), growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), neurofilament medium polypeptide (NEFM), and synuclein beta (SNCB) were found at increased levels in CSF from AD patients compared with controls. Next, we used CSF levels of Aβ42 and tau for the stratification of the MCI patients and observed increased levels of AMPH, AQP4, ARPP21, GAP43, and SNCB in the MCI subgroups with abnormal tau levels compared with controls. Further characterization revealed strong to moderate correlations between these five proteins and tau concentrations.

Interpretation: In conclusion, we report six extensively replicated candidate biomarkers with the potential to reflect disease development. Continued evaluation of these proteins will determine to what extent they can aid in the discrimination of MCI patients with and without an underlying AD etiology, and if they have the potential to contribute to a better understanding of the AD continuum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283172PMC
July 2021

Accuracy and reproducibility of automated white matter hyperintensities segmentation with lesion segmentation tool: A European multi-site 3T study.

Magn Reson Imaging 2021 02 19;76:108-115. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

IRCCS SDN, Naples, Italy.

Brain vascular damage accumulate in aging and often manifest as white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on MRI. Despite increased interest in automated methods to segment WMHs, a gold standard has not been achieved and their longitudinal reproducibility has been poorly investigated. The aim of present work is to evaluate accuracy and reproducibility of two freely available segmentation algorithms. A harmonized MRI protocol was implemented in 3T-scanners across 13 European sites, each scanning five volunteers twice (test-retest) using 2D-FLAIR. Automated segmentation was performed using Lesion segmentation tool algorithms (LST): the Lesion growth algorithm (LGA) in SPM8 and 12 and the Lesion prediction algorithm (LPA). To assess reproducibility, we applied the LST longitudinal pipeline to the LGA and LPA outputs for both the test and retest scans. We evaluated volumetric and spatial accuracy comparing LGA and LPA with manual tracing, and for reproducibility the test versus retest. Median volume difference between automated WMH and manual segmentations (mL) was -0.22[IQR = 0.50] for LGA-SPM8, -0.12[0.57] for LGA-SPM12, -0.09[0.53] for LPA, while the spatial accuracy (Dice Coefficient) was 0.29[0.31], 0.33[0.26] and 0.41[0.23], respectively. The reproducibility analysis showed a median reproducibility error of 20%[IQR = 41] for LGA-SPM8, 14% [31] for LGA-SPM12 and 10% [27] with the LPA cross-sectional pipeline. Applying the LST longitudinal pipeline, the reproducibility errors were considerably reduced (LGA: 0%[IQR = 0], p < 0.001; LPA: 0% [3], p < 0.001) compared to those derived using the cross-sectional algorithms. The DC using the longitudinal pipeline was excellent (median = 1) for LGA [IQR = 0] and LPA [0.02]. LST algorithms showed moderate accuracy and good reproducibility. Therefore, it can be used as a reliable cross-sectional and longitudinal tool in multi-site studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mri.2020.11.008DOI Listing
February 2021

Sex Differences of Longitudinal Brain Changes in Cognitively Unimpaired Adults.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;76(4):1413-1422

Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center, Pasqual Maragall Foundation, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: There is increasing evidence that AD progression differs by sex.

Objective: The aim of this work was to determine sex differences in the association of baseline levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers (Aβ42, p-tau, YKL-40, sTREM2) with longitudinal brain changes in cognitively unimpaired (CU) older adults.

Methods: This pilot study included 36 CU subjects (age 66.5±5.5, 12 male) scanned twice, two years apart. Using a voxel-wise analysis, we determined the sex differences in the association maps between CSF biomarkers and atrophy rates.

Results: We did not find differences related to Aβ42. We found a greater impact of the rest of CSF biomarkers in areas of the Papez circuit in women versus men. Men showed greater involvement in lateral parietal and paracentral areas.

Discussion: Results suggest an early differential progression of brain atrophy between sexes. Further research will elucidate whether the mechanisms responsible for sex-specific atrophy patterns are biological and/or environmental.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200293DOI Listing
June 2021

Screening of dementia genes by whole-exome sequencing in Spanish patients with early-onset dementia: likely pathogenic, uncertain significance and risk variants.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 09 18;93:e1-e9. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) have a high proportion of genetically determined cases. Next-generation sequencing technologies have triggered the discovery of new mutations and genetic variants in dementia-causal genes. We performed whole-exome sequencing and selective analysis of known genes causative of EOAD and FTD in a well-characterized Spanish cohort of 103 patients (60 EOAD, 43 FTD) to find genetic variants associated to patients' phenotype. In EOAD patients, a new likely pathogenic variant in PSEN1 gene (p.G378R) was found. In FTD patients, 2 likely pathogenic variants were found, one in MAPT gene (p.P397S) and one in VCP gene (p.R159H). In our series, 2% of early-onset dementia without criteria for clinical genetic testing according to current guidelines presented a likely pathogenic mutation. We have also detected 13 additional variants of uncertain significance in causal genes, as well as rare variants in risk genes for dementia (ABCA7, SORL1, SQSTM1, and TREM2). Next-generation technologies in neurodegenerative diseases constitute a powerful tool that significantly contributes to patients' diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.02.008DOI Listing
September 2020

Diagnostic Accuracy of MRI Visual Rating Scales in the Diagnosis of Early Onset Cognitive Impairment.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;73(4):1575-1583

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: The diagnosis of incipient symptomatic stages of early-onset dementia is challenging. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an easy-access biomarker.

Objective: We aim to determine the distribution and diagnostic performance of the existing atrophy visual rating scales on MRI in initial stages of the most frequent neurodegenerative early onset dementias.

Methods: We evaluated the visual atrophy scales usefulness in two hundred subjects: seventy sporadic early onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients (48 amnestic and 22 non-amnestic), 14 patients with autosomal-dominant AD (ADAD), 25 sporadic frontotemporal dementia patients [11 with behavioral variant (bvFTD), nine with semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), and 5 with non-fluent primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA)], 7 with genetically determined FTD (genetic FTD), 25 mild cognitive impairment due to non-degenerative disorders, and 59 healthy controls. All had MMSE≥18, 3T-brain MRI, and biomarker-supported diagnosis. Two raters evaluated six frontal, temporal, and parietal scales. Inter-rater reliability and diagnostic performance in terms of area under the receiver-operator curves and balanced accuracy were analyzed.

Results: Best scales to discriminate AD from controls were the anterior cingulate scale for amnestic and the posterior atrophy scale for sporadic non-amnestic AD and ADAD. The anterior temporal scale was the best for sporadic bvFTD and svPPA and the anterior cingulate scale was for nfvPPA. All scales performed well for the genetic FTD. However, no scale demonstrated good performance at discriminating AD from FTD or non-degenerative disorders.

Conclusions: The clinicians should interpret with caution atrophy scale assessment in subjects with early-onset cognitive impairment given that none of the evaluated scales met the requirements for being a diagnostic biomarker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-191167DOI Listing
May 2021

Synaptic, axonal damage and inflammatory cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in neurodegenerative dementias.

Alzheimers Dement 2020 02 6;16(2):262-272. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Introduction: Synaptic damage, axonal neurodegeneration, and neuroinflammation are common features in Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Methods: Unicentric cohort of 353 participants included healthy control (HC) subjects, AD continuum stages, genetic AD and FTD, and FTD and CJD. We measured cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light (NF-L), neurogranin (Ng), 14-3-3, and YKL-40 proteins.

Results: Biomarkers showed differences in HC subjects versus AD, FTD, and CJD. Disease groups differed between them except AD versus FTD for YKL-40. Only NF-L differed between all stages within the AD continuum. AD and FTD symptomatic mutation carriers presented differences with respect to HC subjects. Applying the AT(N) system, 96% subjects were positive for neurodegeneration if 14-3-3 was used, 94% if NF-L was used, 62% if Ng was used, and 53% if YKL-40 was used.

Discussion: Biomarkers of synapse and neurodegeneration differentiate HC subjects from neurodegenerative dementias and between AD, FTD, and CJD. NF-L and 14-3-3 performed similar to total tau when AT(N) system was applied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2019.09.001DOI Listing
February 2020

Hippocampal atrophy has limited usefulness as a diagnostic biomarker on the early onset Alzheimer's disease patients: A comparison between visual and quantitative assessment.

Neuroimage Clin 2019 5;23:101927. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders Unit, Neurology department, IDIBAPS, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

NIA-AA diagnostic criteria include volumetric or visual rating measures of hippocampal atrophy (HA) as a diagnostic biomarker of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We aimed to determine its utility as a diagnostic biomarker for early onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) by assessing Medial Temporal Atrophy (MTA) and hippocampal volume (HV) determination. MTA score and HV quantified by FreeSurfer were assessed in 140 (aged ≤65) subjects with biomarker supported diagnosis: 38 amnesic (A-EOAD), 20 non-amnesic (NA-EOAD), 30 late onset AD (LOAD), 20 fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and 32 healthy controls (HC). The results showed that the proportion of MTA ≥ 1.5 was higher on LOAD and FTD than EOAD and HC but none of the MTA thresholds (≥1, ≥1.5 and ≥ 2) showed acceptable diagnostic accuracy. LOAD had lower HV than the other groups. A-EOAD HV was lower than NA-EOAD and HC but equal to FTD. The 6258 mm3 cut-off showed good diagnostic accuracy between A-EOAD and HC. Both tools showed a moderate inverse correlation. In conclusion, MTA has a limited diagnostic utility as an EOAD biomarker as it does not discriminate AD from FTD or HC in initial symptomatic stages. HV may discriminate A-EOAD from HC but not from FTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101927DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627030PMC
August 2020

Regional patterns of 18F-florbetaben uptake in presenilin 1 mutation carriers.

Neurobiol Aging 2019 09 17;81:1-8. Epub 2019 May 17.

Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders, Neurology Department, Hospital Clínic, Institut d'investigacions biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Individuals with autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD) present amyloid deposits before symptoms onset. We aimed to investigate efficacy and safety of 18F-florbetaben (FBB) for assessing amyloid deposition in ADAD. We acquired FBB positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of 25 individuals from PSEN1 families (NCT02362880). We studied individual uptake patterns, group differences, and correlation with estimated years to symptoms onset, as well as adverse events. We found that asymptomatic carriers (N = 14) showed increased FBB uptake across the cerebral cortex and in the caudate. FBB accumulation appeared more than 15 years before onset in the precuneus and bankssts, among other regions, overlapping regions showing increased cortical thickness in the same subjects. FBB uptake correlated with estimated years to symptoms onset in several areas, especially the rostral anterior cingulate. Symptomatic carriers (N = 7) had an elevated FBB uptake plateau. No adverse events were reported. Overall, we found progressive FBB uptake in ADAD starting 2 decades before symptoms. The rostral anterior cingulate is a candidate area to track Aβ deposition in addition to the precuneus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.04.010DOI Listing
September 2019

Evaluation of genetic damage in pesticides applicators from the province of Córdoba, Argentina.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2019 Jul 21;26(20):20981-20988. Epub 2019 May 21.

CONICET. GENAR, University Juan Agustín Maza, South Side of the East Access 2245, 5519, Mendoza, Argentina.

The impact evaluation of pesticide exposure is conducted using combined data from biomonitoring and environmental monitoring. Damage to the human genome is, probably, the leading cause of chronic-degenerative disorders, reproductive toxicology, and developmental problems. Although the general population is exposed to pesticides, workers in the agrochemical industry and farmers represent a high-risk group due to the occupational and environmental exposure. The aim of this study is to determine whether occupational exposure to agrochemicals in Córdoba (Argentina) constitute a factor of genotoxic damage. The study was conducted in 30 pesticide applicators from the province of Córdoba. Chromosomal aberrations (CAs), micronuclei (MN), and comet assays (CO) were performed. The current study shows that occupational exposure to pesticides increases values of CAs, MN, and DNA fragmentation biomarkers, all indicators of damage to the genetic material. Evidence suggests that chronic exposure to pesticides is a potential risk to workers health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05344-2DOI Listing
July 2019

CSF glial biomarkers YKL40 and sTREM2 are associated with longitudinal volume and diffusivity changes in cognitively unimpaired individuals.

Neuroimage Clin 2019 1;23:101801. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), Pasqual Maragall Foundation, Barcelona, Spain; Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain; Neurology Department, Hospital Clínic i Provincial de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain; CIBER Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERFES), Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) YKL40 and sTREM2 are astroglial and microglial activity biomarkers, respectively. We assessed whether CSF YKL40 and sTREM2 baseline levels are associated with longitudinal brain volume and diffusivity changes in cognitively unimpaired adults. Two brain MRI scans of 36 participants (57 to 78-years old, 12 male) were acquired in a 2-year interval. Aβ, p-tau, YKL40 and sTREM2 concentrations in CSF were determined at baseline. We calculated gray and white matter volume changes per year maps (ΔGM and ΔWM, respectively) by means of longitudinal pairwise registration, and mean diffusivity variation per year (ΔMD) by subtraction. We checked voxel-wise for associations between ΔGM, ΔWM and ΔMD and baseline CSF level of YKL40 and sTREM2 and verified to what extent these associations were modulated by age (YKL40xAGE and sTREM2xAGE interactions). We found a positive association between ΔGM and YKL40 in the left inferior parietal region and no association between sTREM2 and ΔGM. Negative associations were also observed between ΔGM and YKL40xAGE (bilateral frontal areas, left precuneus and left postcentral and supramarginal gyri) and sTREM2xAGE (bilateral temporal and frontal cortex, putamen and left middle cingulate gyrus). We found negative associations between ΔWM and YKL40xAGE (bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus) and sTREM2xAGE (bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, left superior corona radiata, retrolenticular external capsule and forceps minor, among other regions) but none between ΔWM and neither YKL40 nor sTREM2. ΔMD was positively correlated with YKL40 in right orbital region and negatively with sTREM2 in left lingual gyrus and precuneus. In addition, significant associations were found between ΔMD and YKL40xAGE (tail of left hippocampus and surrounding areas and right anterior cingulate gyrus) and sTREM2xAGE (right superior temporal gyrus). Areas showing statistically significant differences were disjoint in analyses involving YKL40 and sTREM2. These results suggest that glial biomarkers exert a relevant and distinct influence in longitudinal brain macro- and microstructural changes in cognitively unimpaired adults, which appears to be modulated by age. In younger subjects increased glial markers (both YKL40 and sTREM2) predict a better outcome, as indicated by a decrease in ΔGM and ΔWM and an increase in ΔMD, whereas in older subjects this association is inverted and higher levels of glial markers are associated with a poorer neuroimaging outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101801DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6458453PMC
April 2020

Serum neurofilament light levels correlate with severity measures and neurodegeneration markers in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2018 11 3;10(1):113. Epub 2018 Nov 3.

UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, London, UK.

Background: Biomarkers that can track disease onset and progression in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD) are needed. We investigate whether serum neurofilament light (NfL) concentration is associated with clinical and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers in ADAD. We also evaluate serum NfL differences between clinical groups.

Methods: Serum NfL was measured cross-sectionally in 60 individuals from ADAD families using an ultrasensitive immunoassay on the Single molecule array (Simoa) platform and longitudinally in an exploratory study in a subset of six mutation carriers. Spearman coefficients assessed associations between serum NfL and relevant measures. Differences between groups were evaluated by Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results: Forty-two participants were mutation carriers: 22 symptomatic (SMC) and 20 asymptomatic (AMC). Eighteen subjects were non-carriers and cognitively normal (controls (CTR)). Serum NfL correlated with the estimated years from symptoms onset across mutation carriers (rho = 0.75, p < 0.001). In mutation carriers, serum NfL also showed strong correlation with clinical (rho = 0.70, p < 0.001) and cognitive (rho = -0.77, p < 0.001) measures and CSF NfL, total tau and phosphorylated tau levels (rho = 0.72, 0.71, and 0.71, respectively, all p < 0.001). Serum NfL concentration was higher in SMC than in AMC and CTR.

Conclusions: Serum NfL might be a feasible non-invasive biomarker to track disease onset and severity in ADAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-018-0439-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6215337PMC
November 2018

The hippocampal longitudinal axis-relevance for underlying tau and TDP-43 pathology.

Neurobiol Aging 2018 10 1;70:1-9. Epub 2018 Jun 1.

Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK; Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK.

Recent studies suggest that hippocampus has different cortical connectivity and functionality along its longitudinal axis. We sought to elucidate the possible different pattern of atrophy in longitudinal axis of hippocampus between Amyloid/Tau pathology and TDP-43-pathies. Seventy-three presenile subjects were included: Amyloid/Tau group (33 Alzheimer's disease with confirmed cerebrospinal fluid [CSF] biomarkers), probable TDP-43 group (7 semantic variant progressive primary aphasia, 5 GRN and 2 C9orf72 mutation carriers) and 26 healthy controls. We conducted a region-of-interest voxel-based morphometry analysis on the hippocampal longitudinal axis, by contrasting the groups, covarying with CSF biomarkers (Aβ, total tau, p-tau) and covarying with episodic memory scores. Amyloid/Tau pathology affected mainly posterior hippocampus while anterior left hippocampus was more atrophied in probable TDP-43-pathies. We also observed a significant correlation of posterior hippocampal atrophy with Alzheimer's disease CSF biomarkers and visual memory scores. Taken together, these data suggest that there is a potential differentiation along the hippocampal longitudinal axis based on the underlying pathology, which could be used as a potential biomarker to identify the underlying pathology in different neurodegenerative diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.05.035DOI Listing
October 2018

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy in Down syndrome and sporadic and autosomal-dominant Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimers Dement 2017 Nov 29;13(11):1251-1260. Epub 2017 Apr 29.

Memory Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Barcelona Down Medical Center, Fundació Catalana de Síndrome de Down, Barcelona, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas, CIBERNED, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

Introduction: We aimed to investigate if cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is more frequent in genetically determined than in sporadic early-onset forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) (early-onset AD [EOAD]).

Methods: Neuroimaging features of CAA, apolipoprotein (APOE), and cerebrospinal fluid amyloid β (Aβ) 40 levels were studied in subjects with Down syndrome (DS, n = 117), autosomal-dominant AD (ADAD, n = 29), sporadic EOAD (n = 42), and healthy controls (n = 68).

Results: CAA was present in 31%, 38%, and 12% of cognitively impaired DS, symptomatic ADAD, and sporadic EOAD subjects and in 13% and 4% of cognitively unimpaired DS individuals and healthy controls, respectively. APOE ε4 genotype was borderline significantly associated with CAA in sporadic EOAD (P = .06) but not with DS or ADAD. There were no differences in Aβ040 levels between groups or between subjects with and without CAA.

Discussion: CAA is more frequently found in genetically determined AD than in sporadic EOAD. Cerebrospinal fluid Aβ40 levels are not a useful biomarker for CAA in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2017.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5660938PMC
November 2017

Free water elimination improves test-retest reproducibility of diffusion tensor imaging indices in the brain: A longitudinal multisite study of healthy elderly subjects.

Hum Brain Mapp 2017 01 13;38(1):12-26. Epub 2016 Aug 13.

IRCCS SDN, Naples, Italy.

Free water elimination (FWE) in brain diffusion MRI has been shown to improve tissue specificity in human white matter characterization both in health and in disease. Relative to the classical diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) model, FWE is also expected to increase sensitivity to microstructural changes in longitudinal studies. However, it is not clear if these two models differ in their test-retest reproducibility. This study compares a bi-tensor model for FWE with DTI by extending a previous longitudinal-reproducibility 3T multisite study (10 sites, 7 different scanner models) of 50 healthy elderly participants (55-80 years old) scanned in two sessions at least 1 week apart. We computed the reproducibility of commonly used DTI metrics (FA: fractional anisotropy, MD: mean diffusivity, RD: radial diffusivity, and AXD: axial diffusivity), derived either using a DTI model or a FWE model. The DTI metrics were evaluated over 48 white-matter regions of the JHU-ICBM-DTI-81 white-matter labels atlas, and reproducibility errors were assessed. We found that relative to the DTI model, FWE significantly reduced reproducibility errors in most areas tested. In particular, for the FA and MD metrics, there was an average reduction of approximately 1% in the reproducibility error. The reproducibility scores did not significantly differ across sites. This study shows that FWE improves sensitivity and is thus promising for clinical applications, with the potential to identify more subtle changes. The increased reproducibility allows for smaller sample size or shorter trials in studies evaluating biomarkers of disease progression or treatment effects. Hum Brain Mapp 38:12-26, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5493991PMC
January 2017

Test-retest reliability of the default mode network in a multi-centric fMRI study of healthy elderly: Effects of data-driven physiological noise correction techniques.

Hum Brain Mapp 2016 06 17;37(6):2114-32. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Section of Neurology, Centre for Memory Disturbances, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Understanding how to reduce the influence of physiological noise in resting state fMRI data is important for the interpretation of functional brain connectivity. Limited data is currently available to assess the performance of physiological noise correction techniques, in particular when evaluating longitudinal changes in the default mode network (DMN) of healthy elderly participants. In this 3T harmonized multisite fMRI study, we investigated how different retrospective physiological noise correction (rPNC) methods influence the within-site test-retest reliability and the across-site reproducibility consistency of DMN-derived measurements across 13 MRI sites. Elderly participants were scanned twice at least a week apart (five participants per site). The rPNC methods were: none (NPC), Tissue-based regression, PESTICA and FSL-FIX. The DMN at the single subject level was robustly identified using ICA methods in all rPNC conditions. The methods significantly affected the mean z-scores and, albeit less markedly, the cluster-size in the DMN; in particular, FSL-FIX tended to increase the DMN z-scores compared to others. Within-site test-retest reliability was consistent across sites, with no differences across rPNC methods. The absolute percent errors were in the range of 5-11% for DMN z-scores and cluster-size reliability. DMN pattern overlap was in the range 60-65%. In particular, no rPNC method showed a significant reliability improvement relative to NPC. However, FSL-FIX and Tissue-based physiological correction methods showed both similar and significant improvements of reproducibility consistency across the consortium (ICC = 0.67) for the DMN z-scores relative to NPC. Overall these findings support the use of rPNC methods like tissue-based or FSL-FIX to characterize multisite longitudinal changes of intrinsic functional connectivity. Hum Brain Mapp 37:2114-2132, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6867386PMC
June 2016

White Matter Abnormalities Track Disease Progression in PSEN1 Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2016 ;51(3):827-35

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain.

PSEN1 mutations are the most frequent cause of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD), and show nearly full penetrance. There is presently increasing interest in the study of biomarkers that track disease progression in order to test therapeutic interventions in ADAD. We used white mater (WM) volumetric characteristics and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics to investigate correlations with the normalized time to expected symptoms onset (relative age ratio) and group differences in a cohort of 36 subjects from PSEN1 ADAD families: 22 mutation carriers, 10 symptomatic (SMC) and 12 asymptomatic (AMC), and 14 non-carriers (NC). Subjects underwent a 3T MRI. WM morphometric data and DTI metrics were analyzed. We found that PSEN1 MC showed significant negative correlation between fractional anisotropy (FA) and the relative age ratio in the genus and body of corpus callosum and corona radiate (p <  0.05 Family-wise error correction (FWE) at cluster level) and positive correlation with mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AxD), and radial diffusivity (RD) in the splenium of corpus callosum. SMC presented WM volume loss, reduced FA and increased MD, AxD, and RD in the anterior and posterior corona radiate, corpus callosum (p <  0.05 FWE) compared with NC. No significant differences were observed between AMC and NC in WM volume or DTI measures. These findings suggest that the integrity of the WM deteriorates linearly in PSEN1 ADAD from the early phases of the disease; thus DTI metrics might be useful to monitor the disease progression. However, the lack of significant alterations at the preclinical stages suggests that these indexes might not be good candidates for early markers of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-150899DOI Listing
December 2016

Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers Predict Clinical Evolution in Patients with Subjective Cognitive Decline and Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Neurodegener Dis 2016 12;16(1-2):69-76. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Determination of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers - 42-amino-acid amyloid-β (Aβ42), total tau and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) - has demonstrated high validity for detecting AD neuropathological changes. However, their prognostic utility to predict the onset of dementia in predementia subjects is still questioned. We aimed to study the prospective clinical evolution of a group of subjects with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and to determine the prognostic capacity of AD CSF biomarkers.

Methods: 149 subjects with MCI or SCD, not meeting dementia criteria, underwent a prospective clinical, neuropsychological and CSF biomarker study. Patients were initially classified as SCD or MCI following internationally accepted criteria. CSF sampling was obtained and analysed following consensus protocols. Neuropsychological and clinical evaluations were conducted at the follow-up. Statistical analysis considering the final clinical diagnosis, regression analysis to define risk factors and survival curves for progression were made.

Results: 72.4% of subjects (83% MCI and 27% SCD) with a pathological CSF ratio (Aβ42/p-tau) met criteria for dementia during the 5-year follow-up versus 18.7% of subjects from the group with a normal ratio. The pathological CSF ratio was a powerful marker of risk for AD dementia (OR 27.1; 95% CI 10.3-71.2). Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that only 15% of subjects with a pathological CSF ratio remained free of AD dementia at 5 years of follow-up. All subjects who reverted to normal cognition presented a normal CSF profile at baseline.

Conclusion: An abnormal AD CSF biomarker profile in predementia subjects is a powerful predictor of cognitive and/or functional decline in the medium term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000439258DOI Listing
September 2016

Longitudinal reproducibility of automatically segmented hippocampal subfields: A multisite European 3T study on healthy elderly.

Hum Brain Mapp 2015 Sep 3;36(9):3516-27. Epub 2015 Jun 3.

Medical Physics Unit, Perugia General Hospital, Perugia, Italy.

Recently, there has been an increased interest in the use of automatically segmented subfields of the human hippocampal formation derived from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, little is known about the test-retest reproducibility of such measures, particularly in the context of multisite studies. Here, we report the reproducibility of automated Freesurfer hippocampal subfields segmentations in 65 healthy elderly enrolled in a consortium of 13 3T MRI sites (five subjects per site). Participants were scanned in two sessions (test and retest) at least one week apart. Each session included two anatomical 3D T1 MRI acquisitions harmonized in the consortium. We evaluated the test-retest reproducibility of subfields segmentation (i) to assess the effects of averaging two within-session T1 images and (ii) to compare subfields with whole hippocampus volume and spatial reliability. We found that within-session averaging of two T1 images significantly improved the reproducibility of all hippocampal subfields but not that of the whole hippocampus. Volumetric and spatial reproducibility across MRI sites were very good for the whole hippocampus, CA2-3, CA4-dentate gyrus (DG), subiculum (reproducibility error∼2% and DICE > 0.90), good for CA1 and presubiculum (reproducibility error ∼ 5% and DICE ∼ 0.90), and poorer for fimbria and hippocampal fissure (reproducibility error ∼ 15% and DICE < 0.80). Spearman's correlations confirmed that test-retest reproducibility improved with volume size. Despite considerable differences of MRI scanner configurations, we found consistent hippocampal subfields volumes estimation. CA2-3, CA4-DG, and sub-CA1 (subiculum, presubiculum, and CA1 pooled together) gave test-retest reproducibility similar to the whole hippocampus. Our findings suggest that the larger hippocampal subfields volume may be reliable longitudinal markers in multisite studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.22859DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6869769PMC
September 2015

Evolving brain structural changes in PSEN1 mutation carriers.

Neurobiol Aging 2015 Mar 24;36(3):1261-70. Epub 2014 Dec 24.

Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain; Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Familial Alzheimer's disease provides the opportunity to investigate brain changes even before the symptoms onset. We performed a structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study in 38 participants from families with presenilin 1 gene mutations: 11 symptomatic mutation carriers, 13 asymptomatic mutation carriers (AMC), with a mean of 16.22 years before the estimated appearance of symptoms, and 14 noncarriers. A subset of subjects was studied longitudinally 2 and 4 years after the first scan. We found decreased cortical thickness (CTh) and volume in cortical and subcortical structures in symptomatic mutation carriers, with progressive loss over time. In AMC, we found increased CTh and volume in temporoparietal regions and in precuneus-posterior cingulate compared with controls at baseline. Longitudinal studies in AMC, by contrast, showed accelerated rates of CTh loss in precuneus-posterior cingulate and superior parietal, right lateral temporal and left orbitofrontal, and middle frontal regions. These findings suggest that brain structure in presenilin 1 mutation carriers follows nonlinear trajectories, with regional increases during the very early presymptomatic period. Initial neuroinflammation and/or accumulation of amyloid species followed by neurodegeneration, or congenital morphometric differences, may explain the observed features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.12.022DOI Listing
March 2015

Multisite longitudinal reliability of tract-based spatial statistics in diffusion tensor imaging of healthy elderly subjects.

Neuroimage 2014 Nov 12;101:390-403. Epub 2014 Jul 12.

Medical Physics Unit, Perugia General Hospital, Perugia, Italy.

Large-scale longitudinal neuroimaging studies with diffusion imaging techniques are necessary to test and validate models of white matter neurophysiological processes that change in time, both in healthy and diseased brains. The predictive power of such longitudinal models will always be limited by the reproducibility of repeated measures acquired during different sessions. At present, there is limited quantitative knowledge about the across-session reproducibility of standard diffusion metrics in 3T multi-centric studies on subjects in stable conditions, in particular when using tract based spatial statistics and with elderly people. In this study we implemented a multi-site brain diffusion protocol in 10 clinical 3T MRI sites distributed across 4 countries in Europe (Italy, Germany, France and Greece) using vendor provided sequences from Siemens (Allegra, Trio Tim, Verio, Skyra, Biograph mMR), Philips (Achieva) and GE (HDxt) scanners. We acquired DTI data (2 × 2 × 2 mm(3), b = 700 s/mm(2), 5 b0 and 30 diffusion weighted volumes) of a group of healthy stable elderly subjects (5 subjects per site) in two separate sessions at least a week apart. For each subject and session four scalar diffusion metrics were considered: fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (RD) and axial (AD) diffusivity. The diffusion metrics from multiple subjects and sessions at each site were aligned to their common white matter skeleton using tract-based spatial statistics. The reproducibility at each MRI site was examined by looking at group averages of absolute changes relative to the mean (%) on various parameters: i) reproducibility of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the b0 images in centrum semiovale, ii) full brain test-retest differences of the diffusion metric maps on the white matter skeleton, iii) reproducibility of the diffusion metrics on atlas-based white matter ROIs on the white matter skeleton. Despite the differences of MRI scanner configurations across sites (vendors, models, RF coils and acquisition sequences) we found good and consistent test-retest reproducibility. White matter b0 SNR reproducibility was on average 7 ± 1% with no significant MRI site effects. Whole brain analysis resulted in no significant test-retest differences at any of the sites with any of the DTI metrics. The atlas-based ROI analysis showed that the mean reproducibility errors largely remained in the 2-4% range for FA and AD and 2-6% for MD and RD, averaged across ROIs. Our results show reproducibility values comparable to those reported in studies using a smaller number of MRI scanners, slightly different DTI protocols and mostly younger populations. We therefore show that the acquisition and analysis protocols used are appropriate for multi-site experimental scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.075DOI Listing
November 2014

Usefulness of biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of early-onset cognitive impairment.

J Alzheimers Dis 2014 ;40(4):919-27

Alzheimer's Disease and other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain Institut d'Investigació Biomédica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Early-onset cognitive impairment diagnosis is often challenging due to the overlapping symptoms between the different degenerative and non-degenerative conditions. We aimed to evaluate the usefulness of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in early-onset cognitive impairment differential diagnosis, to assess their contribution to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) based on the new National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer's Association (NIA-AA) workgroup's recommendations and their capacity to predict subsequent decline in early-onset mild cognitive impairment (MCI). 37 controls and 120 patients (clinical onset <65 years) with diagnosis based on criteria available in 2009 (51 MCI, 42 AD, 10 frontotemporal dementia (FTD), 3 posterior cortical atrophy, and 14 primary progressive aphasia (PPA)) were included. In addition, all subjects were also reclassified according to the revised criteria for MCI, AD, FTD, and PPA, excluding CSF data. We assessed the impact of adding the CSF data to the subject categorization according to the NIA-AA criteria. After inclusion of CSF results, 90% of amnestic and 82% of the non-amnestic AD presentation could be categorized as "high probability", while 3% of AD patients fit into the category "dementia probably not due to AD". All the 24 MCI patients who progressed to AD dementia and only 1/27 stable MCI presented pathological CSF at baseline. Only 4% of the FTD clinical diagnosis had pathological CSF levels. CSF biomarkers provide high diagnostic accuracy in a clinical context in differentiating AD, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and controls in presenile subjects and can be used equally in amnestic and non-amnestic AD. Abnormal CSF-AD biomarker levels predict subsequent progression to AD dementia in subjects with early-onset MCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-132195DOI Listing
January 2015

Brain morphometry reproducibility in multi-center 3T MRI studies: a comparison of cross-sectional and longitudinal segmentations.

Neuroimage 2013 Dec 11;83:472-84. Epub 2013 May 11.

Center for Mind Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy. Electronic address:

Large-scale longitudinal multi-site MRI brain morphometry studies are becoming increasingly crucial to characterize both normal and clinical population groups using fully automated segmentation tools. The test-retest reproducibility of morphometry data acquired across multiple scanning sessions, and for different MR vendors, is an important reliability indicator since it defines the sensitivity of a protocol to detect longitudinal effects in a consortium. There is very limited knowledge about how across-session reliability of morphometry estimates might be affected by different 3T MRI systems. Moreover, there is a need for optimal acquisition and analysis protocols in order to reduce sample sizes. A recent study has shown that the longitudinal FreeSurfer segmentation offers improved within session test-retest reproducibility relative to the cross-sectional segmentation at one 3T site using a nonstandard multi-echo MPRAGE sequence. In this study we implement a multi-site 3T MRI morphometry protocol based on vendor provided T1 structural sequences from different vendors (3D MPRAGE on Siemens and Philips, 3D IR-SPGR on GE) implemented in 8 sites located in 4 European countries. The protocols used mild acceleration factors (1.5-2) when possible. We acquired across-session test-retest structural data of a group of healthy elderly subjects (5 subjects per site) and compared the across-session reproducibility of two full-brain automated segmentation methods based on either longitudinal or cross-sectional FreeSurfer processing. The segmentations include cortical thickness, intracranial, ventricle and subcortical volumes. Reproducibility is evaluated as absolute changes relative to the mean (%), Dice coefficient for volume overlap and intraclass correlation coefficients across two sessions. We found that this acquisition and analysis protocol gives comparable reproducibility results to previous studies that used longer acquisitions without acceleration. We also show that the longitudinal processing is systematically more reliable across sites regardless of MRI system differences. The reproducibility errors of the longitudinal segmentations are on average approximately half of those obtained with the cross sectional analysis for all volume segmentations and for entorhinal cortical thickness. No significant differences in reliability are found between the segmentation methods for the other cortical thickness estimates. The average of two MPRAGE volumes acquired within each test-retest session did not systematically improve the across-session reproducibility of morphometry estimates. Our results extend those from previous studies that showed improved reliability of the longitudinal analysis at single sites and/or with non-standard acquisition methods. The multi-site acquisition and analysis protocol presented here is promising for clinical applications since it allows for smaller sample sizes per MRI site or shorter trials in studies evaluating the role of potential biomarkers to predict disease progression or treatment effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.007DOI Listing
December 2013

Evolving brain functional abnormalities in PSEN1 mutation carriers: a resting and visual encoding fMRI study.

J Alzheimers Dis 2013 ;36(1):165-75

Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

PSEN1 mutations are the most frequent cause of familial Alzheimer's disease and show nearly full penetrance. Here we studied alterations in brain function in a cohort of 19 PSEN1 mutation carriers: 8 symptomatic (SMC) and 11 asymptomatic (AMC). Asymptomatic carriers were, on average, 12 years younger than the predicted age of disease onset. Thirteen healthy subjects were used as a control group (CTR). Subjects underwent a 10-min resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan and also performed a visual encoding task. The analysis of resting-state fMRI data revealed alterations in the default mode network, with increased frontal connectivity and reduced posterior connectivity in AMC and decreased frontal and increased posterior connectivity in SMC. During task-related fMRI, SMC showed reduced activity in regions of the left occipital and left prefrontal cortices, while both AMC and SMC showed increased activity in a region within the precuneus/posterior cingulate, all as compared to CTR. Our findings suggest that fMRI can detect evolving changes in brain mechanisms in PSEN1 mutation carriers and support the use of this technique as a biomarker in Alzheimer's disease, even before the appearance of clinical symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-130062DOI Listing
December 2013

Cognitive reserve proxies relate to gray matter loss in cognitively healthy elderly with abnormal cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β levels.

J Alzheimers Dis 2013 ;35(4):715-26

Departament de Psiquiatria i Psicobiologia Clínica, Universitat de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Cognitive reserve capacity may increase tolerance of neurodegenerative processes. However, its role regarding amyloid-β (Aβ42) deposition in cognitively normal subjects is not well understood. We aimed to investigate the association between areas showing Aβ42-related structural changes and cognitive reserve proxies in cognitively intact subjects showing normal or abnormal Aβ42 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations. Thirty-three subjects (aged 55-85) underwent lumbar puncture and high resolution anatomical magnetic resonance imaging analyzed by voxel-based morphometry and cortical thickness procedures. Subjects with abnormal Aβ42 CSF levels showed significant left hippocampal atrophy and greater cortical thinning in parietal, temporal, and frontal regions (including the supramarginal and the anterior cingulate gyrus) compared to subjects with normal Aβ42 CSF levels. Using a multivariate general linear model, we investigated the relationship between these areas and cognitive reserve proxies. We found a significant relationship between decreased volume of the left hippocampus or decreased cortical thickness of the right supramarginal gyrus and higher cognitive reserve proxies only in the group with abnormal Aβ42 CSF levels. Thus, subjects with abnormal Aβ42 CSF levels (which may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease) and with high scores on cognitive reserve proxies may be tolerating a more advanced neurodegenerative process in critical cortical and subcortical regions. The present results emphasize the relevance of evaluating cognitive reserve proxies, as well as the importance of using neuroimaging techniques for early diagnosis in individuals with higher reserve.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-121906DOI Listing
December 2013

Donepezil treatment stabilizes functional connectivity during resting state and brain activity during memory encoding in Alzheimer's disease.

J Clin Psychopharmacol 2013 Apr;33(2):199-205

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Neurology Service, Hospital Clínic i Universitari de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Previous studies with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) demonstrated a differential brain activity and connectivity after treatment with donepezil in Alzheimer's disease (AD) when compared to healthy elders. Importantly however, there are no available studies where the placebo or control group included comparable AD patients relative to the treated groups. Fifteen patients recently diagnosed of AD were randomized to treatment (n = 8) or to control group (n = 7); the former receiving daily treatment of donepezil during 3 months. At baseline and follow-up, both groups underwent resting-state as well as task-fMRI examinations, this latter assessing encoding of visual scenes. The treated group showed higher connectivity in areas of the default mode network, namely the right parahippocampal gyrus at follow-up resting-fMRI as compared to the control group. On the other hand, for the task-fMRI, the untreated AD group presented progressive increased activation in the left middle temporal gyrus and bilateral precuneus at the 3-month examination compared to baseline, whereas the treated group exhibited stable patterns of brain activity. Donepezil treatment is associated with stabilization of connectivity of medial temporal regions during resting state and of brain efficiency during a cognitive demand, on the whole reducing progressive dysfunctional reorganizations observed during the natural course of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JCP.0b013e3182825bfdDOI Listing
April 2013

[Turner's syndrome 45,X/46Xdel(X)(q21): a case report].

Arch Argent Pediatr 2013 Jan-Feb;111(1):e21-3

Laboratorio de Genética, Centro Médico Científico, Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Río Cuarto, Córdoba.

Turner's syndrome was described by Otto Ullrich (1930) and Henry Turner (1938). An estimated 1 from 2,000 to 3,000 female babies and 1% of the conceptions of female embryos and fetuses have this condition, and 95 to 99% of them result in miscarriage during the first trimester. The case presented concerns a 15 y/o girl who consulted due to primary amenorrhea. The karyotype was 45,X[6]/46Xdel(X)(q21)[14]. Her mother had experienced premature ovarian failure and her karyotype was: 46Xdel(X)(q21)[3]/46,XX[35].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5546/aap.2013.e21DOI Listing
January 2014

APOE status modulates the changes in network connectivity induced by brain stimulation in non-demented elders.

PLoS One 2012 19;7(12):e51833. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Department de Psiquiatria i Psicobiologia Clinica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Behavioral consequences of a brain insult represent an interaction between the injury and the capacity of the rest of the brain to adapt to it. We provide experimental support for the notion that genetic factors play a critical role in such adaptation. We induced a controlled brain disruption using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and show that APOE status determines its impact on distributed brain networks as assessed by functional MRI (fMRI).Twenty non-demented elders exhibiting mild memory dysfunction underwent two fMRI studies during face-name encoding tasks (before and after rTMS). Baseline task performance was associated with activation of a network of brain regions in prefrontal, parietal, medial temporal and visual associative areas. APOE ε4 bearers exhibited this pattern in two separate independent components, whereas ε4-non carriers presented a single partially overlapping network. Following rTMS all subjects showed slight ameliorations in memory performance, regardless of APOE status. However, after rTMS APOE ε4-carriers showed significant changes in brain network activation, expressing strikingly similar spatial configuration as the one observed in the non-carrier group prior to stimulation. Similarly, activity in areas of the default-mode network (DMN) was found in a single component among the ε4-non bearers, whereas among carriers it appeared disaggregated in three distinct spatiotemporal components that changed to an integrated single component after rTMS.Our findings demonstrate that genetic background play a fundamental role in the brain responses to focal insults, conditioning expression of distinct brain networks to sustain similar cognitive performance.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0051833PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3526481PMC
June 2013

Serum progranulin levels in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Alzheimer's disease: detection of GRN mutations in a Spanish cohort.

J Alzheimers Dis 2012 ;31(3):581-91

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Neurology Service, Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Progranulin gene (GRN) mutations cause frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with TDP43-positive inclusions, although its clinical phenotype is heterogeneous and includes patients classified as behavioral variant-FTLD (bvFTLD), progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA), corticobasal syndrome, Alzheimer's disease (AD), or Parkinson's disease (PD). Our main objective was to study if low serum progranulin protein (PGRN) levels may detect GRN mutations in a Spanish cohort of patients with FTLD or AD. Serum PGRN levels were measured in 112 subjects: 17 bvFTLD, 20 PNFA, 4 semantic dementia, 34 sporadic AD, 9 AD-PSEN1 mutation carriers, 10 presymptomatic-PSEN1 mutation carriers, and 18 control individuals. We detected 5 patients with PGRN levels below 94 ng/mL: two of them had a clinical diagnosis of bvFTLD, two of PNFA, and one of AD. The screening for GRN mutations detected two probable pathogenic mutations (p.C366fsX1 and a new mutation: p.V279GfsX5) in three patients and one mutation of unclear pathogenic nature (p.C139R) in one patient. The other patient showed a normal GRN sequence but carried a PRNP gene mutation. We observed no differences in serum PGRN levels between controls (mean = 145.5 ng/mL, SD = 28.5) and the other neurodegenerative diseases, except for the carriers of pathological GRN gene mutations (mean = 50.5 ng/mL, SD = 21.2). Null GRN mutation carriers also showed lower serum PGRN levels than the patient who was a carrier of p.C139R (92.3 ng/mL) and the one who was a carrier of the PRNP mutation (76.9 ng/mL). In conclusion, we detected GRN null mutations in patients with severely reduced serum PGRN levels, but not in patients with slightly reduced PGRN levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2012-112120DOI Listing
May 2013

PSEN1 mutation carriers present lower cerebrospinal fluid amyoid-β42 levels than sporadic early-onset Alzheimer's disease patients but no differences in neuronal injury biomarkers.

J Alzheimers Dis 2012 ;30(3):605-16

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital Clínic, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Most cases of early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) are sporadic. A minority of EOAD are caused by specific genetic defects in PSEN1, PSEN2, or AβPP genes. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker comparisons between sporadic and monogenic EOAD are practically inexistent. CSF and MRI data from 14 amnestic-onset sporadic EOAD (sEOAD) subjects were compared with data from 8 symptomatic PSEN1 mutation carriers (PSEN1) and 14 age-matched cognitively-preserved controls. CSF concentrations of amyloid-β (Aβ)(42), total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) were determined. Cortical thickness (CTh) and grey matter loss were compared between groups and correlated with CSF biomarkers. PSEN1 had significantly lower CSF Aβ(42) levels compared to sEOAD (mean 244.8 pg/ml versus 381.4 pg/ml; p = 0.006), but no differences in t-tau or p-tau. Both sEOAD and PSEN1 showed widespread CTh loss in AD target areas when compared with controls. No differences were found in the direct comparison between sEOAD and PSEN1 CTh after adjusting for age and Mini-Mental Status Examination scores. Neither was a correlation found between Aβ(42) levels and CTh. CTh in the left superior parietal and caudal middle frontal areas was negatively correlated with t-tau values. In conclusion, PSEN1 had lower Aβ(42) CSF levels compared with sEOAD, suggesting a greater cerebral deposition of Aβ(42). These differences in Aβ(42) deposition were not significantly reflected in the brain structure, and CTh was only correlated with total tau. The lack of significant differences in relation to t-tau and p-tau levels and to the severity of CTh or grey matter loss suggests a similar level of neuronal injury despite higher Aβ(42) load in PSEN1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2012-111949DOI Listing
October 2012

Disease tracking markers for Alzheimer's disease at the prodromal (MCI) stage.

J Alzheimers Dis 2011 ;26 Suppl 3:159-99

LENITEM Laboratory of Epidemiology, Neuroimaging and Telemedicine, IRCCS San Giovanni di Dio - Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

Older persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) feature neurobiological Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in 50% to 70% of the cases and develop dementia within the next 5 to 7 years. Current evidence suggests that biochemical, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, and neuropsychological markers can track the disease over time since the MCI stage (also called prodromal AD). The amount of evidence supporting their validity is of variable strength. We have reviewed the current literature and categorized evidence of validity into three classes: Class A, availability of multiple serial studies; Class B a single serial study or multiple cross sectional studies of patients with increasing disease severity from MCI to probable AD; and class C, multiple cross sectional studies of patients in the dementia stage, not including the MCI stage. Several Class A studies suggest that episodic memory and semantic fluency are the most reliable neuropsychological markers of progression. Hippocampal atrophy, ventricular volume and whole brain atrophy are structural MRI markers with class A evidence. Resting-state fMRI and connectivity, and diffusion MR markers in the medial temporal white matter (parahippocampus and posterior cingulum) and hippocampus are promising but require further validation. Change in amyloid load in MCI patients warrant further investigations, e.g. over longer period of time, to assess its value as marker of disease progression. Several spectral markers of resting state EEG rhythms that might reflect neurodegenerative processes in the prodromal stage of AD (EEG power density, functional coupling, spectral coherence, and synchronization) suffer from lack of appropriately designed studies. Although serial studies on late event-related potentials (ERPs) in healthy elders or MCI patients are inconclusive, others tracking disease progression and effects of cholinesterase inhibiting drugs in AD, and cross-sectional including MCI or predicting development of AD offer preliminary evidence of validity as a marker of disease progression from the MCI stage. CSF Markers, such as Aβ 1-42, t-tau and p-tau are valuable markers which support the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. However, these markers are not sensitive to disease progression and cannot be used to monitor the severity of Alzheimer's disease. For Isoprostane F2 some evidence exists that its increase correlates with the progression and the severity of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2011-0043DOI Listing
February 2012