Publications by authors named "Mira Didic"

64 Publications

SLITRK2, an X-linked modifier of the age at onset in C9orf72 frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Brain 2021 Oct;144(9):2798-2811

Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute; Department of Medicine (Neurology), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

The G4C2-repeat expansion in C9orf72 is the most common cause of frontotemporal dementia and of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The variability of age at onset and phenotypic presentations is a hallmark of C9orf72 disease. In this study, we aimed to identify modifying factors of disease onset in C9orf72 carriers using a family-based approach, in pairs of C9orf72 carrier relatives with concordant or discordant age at onset. Linkage and association analyses provided converging evidence for a locus on chromosome Xq27.3. The minor allele A of rs1009776 was associated with an earlier onset (P = 1 × 10-5). The association with onset of dementia was replicated in an independent cohort of unrelated C9orf72 patients (P = 0.009). The protective major allele delayed the onset of dementia from 5 to 13 years on average depending on the cohort considered. The same trend was observed in an independent cohort of C9orf72 patients with extreme deviation of the age at onset (P = 0.055). No association of rs1009776 was detected in GRN patients, suggesting that the effect of rs1009776 was restricted to the onset of dementia due to C9orf72. The minor allele A is associated with a higher SLITRK2 expression based on both expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) databases and in-house expression studies performed on C9orf72 brain tissues. SLITRK2 encodes for a post-synaptic adhesion protein. We further show that synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 and synaptophysin, two synaptic vesicle proteins, were decreased in frontal cortex of C9orf72 patients carrying the minor allele. Upregulation of SLITRK2 might be associated with synaptic dysfunctions and drives adverse effects in C9orf72 patients that could be modulated in those carrying the protective allele. How the modulation of SLITRK2 expression affects synaptic functions and influences the disease onset of dementia in C9orf72 carriers will require further investigations. In summary, this study describes an original approach to detect modifier genes in rare diseases and reinforces rising links between C9orf72 and synaptic dysfunctions that might directly influence the occurrence of first symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab171DOI Listing
October 2021

Plasma NfL levels and longitudinal change rates in and -associated diseases: from tailored references to clinical applications.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2021 Aug 4. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Sorbonne Université, Paris Brain Institute - Institut du Cerveau - ICM, Inserm U1127, CNRS UMR 7225, AP-HP - Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France

Objective: Neurofilament light chain (NfL) is a promising biomarker in genetic frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We evaluated plasma neurofilament light chain (pNfL) levels in controls, and their longitudinal trajectories in and cohorts from presymptomatic to clinical stages.

Methods: We analysed pNfL using Single Molecule Array (SiMoA) in 668 samples (352 baseline and 316 follow-up) of and patients, presymptomatic carriers (PS) and controls aged between 21 and 83. They were longitudinally evaluated over a period of >2 years, during which four PS became prodromal/symptomatic. Associations between pNfL and clinical-genetic variables, and longitudinal NfL changes, were investigated using generalised and linear mixed-effects models. Optimal cut-offs were determined using the Youden Index.

Results: pNfL levels increased with age in controls, from ~5 to~18 pg/mL (p<0.0001), progressing over time (mean annualised rate of change (ARC): +3.9%/year, p<0.0001). Patients displayed higher levels and greater longitudinal progression (ARC: +26.7%, p<0.0001), with gene-specific trajectories. patients had higher levels than (86.21 vs 39.49 pg/mL, p=0.014), and greater progression rates (ARC:+29.3% vs +24.7%; p=0.016). In patients, levels were associated with the phenotype (ALS: 71.76 pg/mL, FTD: 37.16, psychiatric: 15.3; p=0.003) and remarkably lower in slowly progressive patients (24.11, ARC: +2.5%; p=0.05). Mean ARC was +3.2% in PS and +7.3% in prodromal carriers. We proposed gene-specific cut-offs differentiating patients from controls by decades.

Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of gene-specific and age-specific references for clinical and therapeutic trials in genetic FTD/ALS. It supports the usefulness of repeating pNfL measurements and considering ARC as a prognostic marker of disease progression.

Trial Registration Numbers: NCT02590276 and NCT04014673.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2021-326914DOI Listing
August 2021

Heterozygous HTRA1 nonsense or frameshift mutations are pathogenic.

Brain 2021 Oct;144(9):2616-2624

AP-HP, Service de Génétique Moléculaire Neurovasculaire, Hôpital Saint-Louis, France.

Heterozygous missense HTRA1 mutations have been associated with an autosomal dominant cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) whereas the pathogenicity of heterozygous HTRA1 stop codon variants is unclear. We performed a targeted high throughput sequencing of all known CSVD genes, including HTRA1, in 3853 unrelated consecutive CSVD patients referred for molecular diagnosis. The frequency of heterozygous HTRA1 mutations leading to a premature stop codon in this patient cohort was compared with their frequency in large control databases. An analysis of HTRA1 mRNA was performed in several stop codon carrier patients. Clinical and neuroimaging features were characterized in all probands. Twenty unrelated patients carrying a heterozygous HTRA1 variant leading to a premature stop codon were identified. A highly significant difference was observed when comparing our patient cohort with control databases: gnomAD v3.1.1 [P = 3.12 × 10-17, odds ratio (OR) = 21.9], TOPMed freeze 5 (P = 7.6 × 10-18, OR = 27.1) and 1000 Genomes (P = 1.5 × 10-5). Messenger RNA analysis performed in eight patients showed a degradation of the mutated allele strongly suggesting a haploinsufficiency. Clinical and neuroimaging features are similar to those previously reported in heterozygous missense mutation carriers, except for penetrance, which seems lower. Altogether, our findings strongly suggest that heterozygous HTRA1 stop codons are pathogenic through a haploinsufficiency mechanism. Future work will help to estimate their penetrance, an important information for genetic counselling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab271DOI Listing
October 2021

Convergent and Discriminant Validity of Default Mode Network and Limbic Network Perfusion in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;82(4):1797-1808

Laboratory of Alzheimer's Neuroimaging and Epidemiology (LANE), IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Previous studies reported default mode network (DMN) and limbic network (LIN) brain perfusion deficits in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), frequently a prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the validity of these measures as AD markers has not yet been tested using MRI arterial spin labeling (ASL).

Objective: To investigate the convergent and discriminant validity of DMN and LIN perfusion in aMCI.

Methods: We collected core AD markers (amyloid-β 42 [Aβ42], phosphorylated tau 181 levels in cerebrospinal fluid [CSF]), neurodegenerative (hippocampal volumes and CSF total tau), vascular (white matter hyperintensities), genetic (apolipoprotein E [APOE] status), and cognitive features (memory functioning on Paired Associate Learning test [PAL]) in 14 aMCI patients. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was extracted from DMN and LIN using ASL and correlated with AD features to assess convergent validity. Discriminant validity was assessed carrying out the same analysis with AD-unrelated features, i.e., somatomotor and visual networks' perfusion, cerebellar volume, and processing speed.

Results: Perfusion was reduced in the DMN (F = 5.486, p = 0.039) and LIN (F = 12.678, p = 0.004) in APOE ɛ4 carriers compared to non-carriers. LIN perfusion correlated with CSF Aβ42 levels (r = 0.678, p = 0.022) and memory impairment (PAL, number of errors, r = -0.779, p = 0.002). No significant correlation was detected with tau, neurodegeneration, and vascular features, nor with AD-unrelated features.

Conclusion: Our results support the validity of DMN and LIN ASL perfusion as AD markers in aMCI, indicating a significant correlation between CBF and amyloidosis, APOE ɛ4, and memory impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-210531DOI Listing
January 2021

Harmonizing neuropsychological assessment for mild neurocognitive disorders in Europe.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 May 13. Epub 2021 May 13.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Introduction: Harmonized neuropsychological assessment for neurocognitive disorders, an international priority for valid and reliable diagnostic procedures, has been achieved only in specific countries or research contexts.

Methods: To harmonize the assessment of mild cognitive impairment in Europe, a workshop (Geneva, May 2018) convened stakeholders, methodologists, academic, and non-academic clinicians and experts from European, US, and Australian harmonization initiatives.

Results: With formal presentations and thematic working-groups we defined a standard battery consistent with the U.S. Uniform DataSet, version 3, and homogeneous methodology to obtain consistent normative data across tests and languages. Adaptations consist of including two tests specific to typical Alzheimer's disease and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. The methodology for harmonized normative data includes consensus definition of cognitively normal controls, classification of confounding factors (age, sex, and education), and calculation of minimum sample sizes.

Discussion: This expert consensus allows harmonizing the diagnosis of neurocognitive disorders across European countries and possibly beyond.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12365DOI Listing
May 2021

Primary Progressive Aphasia Associated With Mutations: New Insights Into the Nonamyloid Logopenic Variant.

Neurology 2021 07 12;97(1):e88-e102. Epub 2021 May 12.

From Sorbonne Université (D.S., M.H., L.S., S.E., A.C., S.B., D.R., A.M., R.L., B.D., A.B., O.C., M.T., R.M., I.L.B.), Paris Brain Institute-Institut du Cerveau (ICM), Inserm U1127, CNRS UMR 7225, AP-HP-Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière; Reference Centre for Rare or Early Dementias (D.S., S.F., M.N.-L., M.H., A.F., L.S., S.E., D.R., A.M., R.L., B.D., M.T., R.M., I.L.B.), IM2A, Département de Neurologie, AP-HP-Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière; Aramis Project Team (D.S., S.E., S.B., A.M., O.C.), Inria Research Center of Paris; Centre of Excellence of Neurodegenerative Disease (CoEN) (M.H.), ICM, CIC Neurosciences, Département de Neurologie, AP-HP-Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Sorbonne Université; FrontLab (A.F., R.L., B.D., M.T., R.M., I.L.B.), Paris Brain Institute-Institut du Cerveau (ICM); Université Lille (V.D., F.P.), Inserm U1171, CHU Lille, DistAlz, LiCEND, CNR-MAJ; CMRR Service de Neurologie (P.C.), CHU de Limoges; Department of Neurology (J.P., A.G.), Toulouse University Hospital; ToNIC (J.P., A.G.), Toulouse NeuroImaging Centre, Inserm, UPS, University of Toulouse; Normandie Université (D.W., D.H.), UNIROUEN, Inserm U1245 and Rouen University Hospital, Department of Neurology and CNR-MAJ, Normandy Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine; Rouen University Hospital (O.M.), Department of Neurology; Normandie Université (O.M.), UNICAEN, PSL Research University, EPHE, INSERM, U1077, CHU de Caen Normandie, Neuropsychologie et Imagerie de la Mémoire Humaine, Caen; UF de Neurogénétique Moléculaire et Cellulaire (F.C.), Département de Génétique, AP-HP, Hôpitaux Universitaires La Pitié Salpêtrière-Charles Foix; EPHE (A.C.), PSL Research University, Paris; CMRR Nouvelle Aquitaine/Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives clinique (IMNc) (S.A.), CHU de Bordeaux Hôpital Pellegrin; Unit of Neurology of Memory and Language (M.S., J.L., C.R.-J.), GHU Paris Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of Paris, Hôpital Sainte Anne; Université Paris-Saclay (M.S., J.L., C.R.-J.), CEA, CNRS, Inserm, BioMaps, Orsay; Aix Marseille Université (M.D.), INSERM, Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, Marseille; APHM (M.D.), Timone, Service de Neurologie et Neuropsychologie, APHM Hôpital Timone Adultes, Marseille; CHU Nantes (C.B.-B.), Inserm CIC04, Department of Neurology, Centre Mémoire de Ressources et Recherche, Nantes; Centre de génétique (C.T.-R.), Hôpital d'Enfants, CHU Dijon Bourgogne; CMRR Département de Neurologie (F.S.), Hôpitaux Civils, Colmar, INSERM U1118, Université de Strasbourg, Faculté de Médecine, 67085 Strasbourg; CMRR (A.G.), Département de Neurologie, CHU de Montpellier, Inserm U1061, Université de Montpellier i-site MUSE; Department of Neurology (F.E.-B.), CMRR Angers University Hospital, Angers, France; Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences (C.C.), University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy; and Department of Neurology (M.L.G.-T.), Memory and Aging Center, University of California, San Francisco.

Objective: To determine relative frequencies and linguistic profiles of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) variants associated with (progranulin) mutations and to study their neuroanatomic correlates.

Methods: Patients with PPA carrying mutations (PPA-) were selected among a national prospective research cohort of 1,696 patients with frontotemporal dementia, including 235 patients with PPA. All patients with amyloid-positive CSF biomarkers were excluded. In this cross-sectional study, speech/language and cognitive profiles were characterized with standardized evaluations, and gray matter (GM) atrophy patterns using voxel-based morphometry. Comparisons were performed with controls and patients with sporadic PPA.

Results: Among the 235 patients with PPA, 45 (19%) carried mutations, and we studied 32 of these. We showed that logopenic PPA (lvPPA) was the most frequent linguistic variant (n = 13, 41%), followed by nonfluent/agrammatic (nfvPPA; n = 9, 28%) and mixed forms (n = 8, 25%). Semantic variant was rather rare (n = 2, 6%). Patients with lvPPA, qualified as nonamyloid lvPPA, presented canonical logopenic deficit. Seven of 13 had a pure form; 6 showed subtle additional linguistic deficits not fitting criteria for mixed PPA and hence were labeled as logopenic-spectrum variant. GM atrophy involved primarily left posterior temporal gyrus, mirroring neuroanatomic changes of amyloid-positive-lvPPA. Patients with nfvPPA presented agrammatism (89%) rather than apraxia of speech (11%).

Conclusions: This study shows that the most frequent PPA variant associated with mutations is nonamyloid lvPPA, preceding nfvPPA and mixed forms, and illustrates that the language network may be affected at different levels. testing is indicated for patients with PPA, whether familial or sporadic. This finding is important for upcoming gene-specific therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012174DOI Listing
July 2021

A Comparison of Two Statistical Mapping Tools for Automated Brain FDG-PET Analysis in Predicting Conversion to Alzheimer's Disease in Subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Curr Alzheimer Res 2020 ;17(13):1186-1194

Laboratory of Neuroimaging of Aging, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Objective: Automated voxel-based analysis methods are used to detect cortical hypometabolism typical of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) on FDG-PET brain scans. We compared the accuracy of two clinically validated tools for their ability to identify those MCI subjects progressing to AD at followup, to evaluate the impact of the analysis method on FDG-PET diagnostic performance.

Methods: SPMGrid and BRASS (Hermes Medical Solutions, Stockholm, Sweden) were tested on 131 MCI and elderly healthy controls from the EADC PET dataset. The concordance between the tools was tested by correlating the quantitative parameters (z- and t-values), calculated by the two software tools, and by measuring the topographical overlap of the abnormal regions (Dice score). Three independent expert readers blindly assigned a diagnosis based on the two map sets. We used conversion to AD dementia as the gold standard.

Results: The t-map and z-map calculated with SPMGrid and BRASS, respectively, showed a good correlation (R > .50) for the majority of individual cases (128/131) and for the majority of selected regions of interest (ROIs) (98/116). The overlap of the hypometabolic patterns from the two tools was, however, poor (Dice score .36). The diagnostic performance was comparable, with BRASS showing significantly higher sensitivity (.82 versus .59) and SPMGrid showing higher specificity (.87 versus .52).

Conclusion: Despite similar diagnostic performance in predicting conversion to AD in MCI subjects, the two tools showed significant differences, and the maps provided by the tools showed limited overlap. These results underline the urgency for standardization across FDG-PET analysis methods for their use in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1567205018666210212162443DOI Listing
January 2020

Dynamic Functional Connectivity as a complex random walk: Definitions and the dFCwalk toolbox.

MethodsX 2020 1;7:101168. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Université Aix-Marseille, INSERM UMR 1106, Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, F-13005 Marseille, France.

•We have developed a framework to describe the dynamics of Functional Connectivity (dFC) estimated from brain activity time-series as a complex random walk in the space of possible functional networks. This conceptual and methodological framework considers dFC as a smooth reconfiguration process, combining "liquid" and "coordinated" aspects. Unlike other previous approaches, our method does not require the explicit extraction of discrete connectivity states.•In our previous work, we introduced several metrics for the quantitative characterization of the dFC random walk. First, dFC speed analyses extract the distribution of the time-resolved rate of reconfiguration of FC along time. These distributions have a clear peak (typical dFC speed, that can already serve as a biomarker) and fat tails (denoting deviations from Gaussianity that can be detected by suitable scaling analyses of FC network streams). Second, meta-connectivity (MC) analyses identify groups of functional links whose fluctuations co-vary in time and that define veritable dFC modules organized along specific dFC meta-hub controllers (differing from conventional FC modules and hubs). The decomposition of whole-brain dFC by MC allows performing dFC speed analyses separately for each of the detected dFC modules.•We present here blocks and pipelines for dFC random walk analyses that are made easily available through a dedicated MATLAB toolbox (), openly downloadable. Although we applied such analyses mostly to fMRI resting state data, in principle our methods can be extended to any type of neural activity (from Local Field Potentials to EEG, MEG, fNIRS, etc.) or even non-neural time-series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2020.101168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736993PMC
December 2020

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

Progressive phonagnosia in a telephone operator carrying a C9orf72 expansion.

Cortex 2020 11 10;132:92-98. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

APHM, Timone, Service de Neurologie et Neuropsychologie, Hôpital Timone Adultes, Marseille, France; Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM, INS, Inst Neurosci Syst, Marseille, France. Electronic address:

Selectivity is the rule, rather than the exception, in neurodegenerative disease. A retired telephone operator carrying a C9orf72 expansion developed phonagnosia, a selective impairment of voice recognition, contrasting with intact person knowledge and recognition of faces, as a presenting sign of genetically confirmed fronto-temporal dementia. Since the dysfunction in this patient fell into his area of professional expertise, we discuss if overload in voice related neural networks might have caused failure propagating to connected nodes. The interaction with downstream molecular events, triggered by the C9orf72 expansion, may have led to breakdown at the network level, leading to this specific phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.05.022DOI Listing
November 2020

A Meta-Analysis of Semantic Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Neuropsychol Rev 2021 06 19;31(2):221-232. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Université de Toulouse, UPS, Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition, Toulouse, France.

Accumulating evidence over the past decade suggests that semantic deficits represent a consistent feature of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). A meta-analysis was performed to examine if semantic deficits are consistently found in patients with MCI. Studies meeting all inclusion criteria were selected for the current meta-analysis. An effect size and a weight were calculated for each study. A random effect model was performed to assess the overall difference in semantic performances between MCI patients and healthy subjects. 22 studies (476 healthy participants, 476 MCI patients, mean Mini Mental Status Examination of the MCI patients: 27.05 ± 0.58) were included in the meta-analysis. Results indicate that MCI patients systematically performed significantly worse than healthy matched controls in terms of overall semantic performance (mean effect size of 1.02; 95% CI [0.80; 1.24]). Semantic deficits are a key feature of MCI. Semantic tests should be incorporated in routine clinical assessments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11065-020-09453-5DOI Listing
June 2021

Modular slowing of resting-state dynamic functional connectivity as a marker of cognitive dysfunction induced by sleep deprivation.

Neuroimage 2020 11 29;222:117155. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Aix-Marseille Université, Inserm, Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes (INS) UMR_S 1106, 13005, Marseille, France. Electronic address:

Dynamic Functional Connectivity (dFC) in the resting state (rs) is considered as a correlate of cognitive processing. Describing dFC as a flow across morphing connectivity configurations, our notion of dFC speed quantifies the rate at which FC networks evolve in time. Here we probe the hypothesis that variations of rs dFC speed and cognitive performance are selectively interrelated within specific functional subnetworks. In particular, we focus on Sleep Deprivation (SD) as a reversible model of cognitive dysfunction. We found that whole-brain level (global) dFC speed significantly slows down after 24h of SD. However, the reduction in global dFC speed does not correlate with variations of cognitive performance in individual tasks, which are subtle and highly heterogeneous. On the contrary, we found strong correlations between performance variations in individual tasks -including Rapid Visual Processing (RVP, assessing sustained visual attention)- and dFC speed quantified at the level of functional sub-networks of interest. Providing a compromise between classic static FC (no time) and global dFC (no space), modular dFC speed analyses allow quantifying a different speed of dFC reconfiguration independently for sub-networks overseeing different tasks. Importantly, we found that RVP performance robustly correlates with the modular dFC speed of a characteristic frontoparietal module.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117155DOI Listing
November 2020

Amygdalar nuclei and hippocampal subfields on MRI: Test-retest reliability of automated volumetry across different MRI sites and vendors.

Neuroimage 2020 09 13;218:116932. Epub 2020 May 13.

CRMBM-CEMEREM, UMR 7339, Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, Marseille, France.

Background: The amygdala and the hippocampus are two limbic structures that play a critical role in cognition and behavior, however their manual segmentation and that of their smaller nuclei/subfields in multicenter datasets is time consuming and difficult due to the low contrast of standard MRI. Here, we assessed the reliability of the automated segmentation of amygdalar nuclei and hippocampal subfields across sites and vendors using FreeSurfer in two independent cohorts of older and younger healthy adults.

Methods: Sixty-five healthy older (cohort 1) and 68 younger subjects (cohort 2), from the PharmaCog and CoRR consortia, underwent repeated 3D-T1 MRI (interval 1-90 days). Segmentation was performed using FreeSurfer v6.0. Reliability was assessed using volume reproducibility error (ε) and spatial overlapping coefficient (DICE) between test and retest session.

Results: Significant MRI site and vendor effects (p ​< ​.05) were found in a few subfields/nuclei for the ε, while extensive effects were found for the DICE score of most subfields/nuclei. Reliability was strongly influenced by volume, as ε correlated negatively and DICE correlated positively with volume size of structures (absolute value of Spearman's r correlations >0.43, p ​< ​1.39E-36). In particular, volumes larger than 200 ​mm (for amygdalar nuclei) and 300 ​mm (for hippocampal subfields, except for molecular layer) had the best test-retest reproducibility (ε ​< ​5% and DICE ​> ​0.80).

Conclusion: Our results support the use of volumetric measures of larger amygdalar nuclei and hippocampal subfields in multisite MRI studies. These measures could be useful for disease tracking and assessment of efficacy in drug trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116932DOI Listing
September 2020

CSF cutoffs for MCI due to AD depend on APOEε4 carrier status.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 05 30;89:55-62. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Memory Clinic and LANVIE - Laboratory of Neuroimaging of Aging, University Hospitals and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Amyloid and tau pathological accumulation should be considered for Alzheimer's disease (AD) definition and before subjects' enrollment in disease-modifying trials. Although age, APOEε4, and sex influence cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker levels, none of these variables are considered by current normality/abnormality cutoffs. Using baseline CSF data from 2 independent cohorts (PharmaCOG/European Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative), we investigated the effect of age, APOEε4 status, and sex on CSF Aβ42/P-tau distribution and cutoff extraction by applying mixture models with covariates. The Aβ42/P-tau distribution revealed the presence of 3 subgroups (AD-like, intermediate, control-like) and 2 cutoffs. The identification of the intermediate subgroup and of the higher cutoff was APOEε4 dependent in both cohorts. APOE-specific classification (higher cutoff for APOEε4+, lower cutoff for APOEε4-) showed higher diagnostic accuracy in identifying MCI due to AD compared to single Aβ42 and Aβ42/P-tau cutoffs. APOEε4 influences amyloid and tau CSF markers and AD progression in MCI patients supporting i) the use of APOE-specific cutoffs to identify MCI due to AD and ii) the utility of considering APOE genotype for early AD diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.12.019DOI Listing
May 2020

Biomarker Matrix to Track Short Term Disease Progression in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients with Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;69(1):49-58

Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Alzheimer's Epidemiology, IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Assessment of human brain atrophy in temporal regions using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), resting state functional MRI connectivity in the left parietal cortex, and limbic electroencephalographic (rsEEG) rhythms as well as plasma amyloid peptide 42 (Aβ42) has shown that each is a promising biomarker of disease progression in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients with prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the value of their combined use is unknown.

Objective: To evaluate the association with cognitive decline and the effect on sample size calculation when using a biomarker composite matrix in prodromal AD clinical trials.

Methods: Multicenter longitudinal study with follow-up of 2 years or until development of incident dementia. APOE ɛ4-specific cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42/P-tau cut-offs were used to identify aMCI with prodromal AD. Linear mixed models were performed 1) with repeated matrix values and time as factors to explain the longitudinal changes in ADAS-cog13, 2) with CSF Aβ42/P-tau status, time, and CSF Aβ42/P-tau status×time interaction as factors to explain the longitudinal changes in matrix measures, and 3) to compute sample size estimation for a trial implemented with the selected matrices.

Results: The best composite matrix included the MRI volumes of hippocampal dentate gyrus and lateral ventricle. This matrix showed the best sensitivity to track disease progression and required a sample size 31% lower than that of the best individual biomarker (i.e., volume of hippocampal dentate gyrus).

Conclusion: Optimal matrices improved the statistical power to track disease development and to measure clinical progression in the short-term period. This might contribute to optimize the design of future clinical trials in MCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-181016DOI Listing
September 2020

Head-to-Head Comparison among Semi-Quantification Tools of Brain FDG-PET to Aid the Diagnosis of Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;68(1):383-394

Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, and Mother-Child health (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, Italy.

Background: Several automatic tools have been implemented for semi-quantitative assessment of brain [18]F-FDG-PET.

Objective: We aimed to head-to-head compare the diagnostic performance among three statistical parametric mapping (SPM)-based approaches, another voxel-based tool (i.e., PALZ), and a volumetric region of interest (VROI-SVM)-based approach, in distinguishing patients with prodromal Alzheimer's disease (pAD) from controls.

Methods: Sixty-two pAD patients (MMSE score = 27.0±1.6) and one hundred-nine healthy subjects (CTR) (MMSE score = 29.2±1.2) were enrolled in five centers of the European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium. The three SPM-based methods, based on different rationales, included 1) a cluster identified through the correlation analysis between [18]F-FDG-PET and a verbal memory test (VROI-1), 2) a VROI derived from the comparison between pAD and CTR (VROI-2), and 3) visual analysis of individual maps obtained by the comparison between each subject and CTR (SPM-Maps). The VROI-SVM approach was based on 6 VROI plus 6 VROI asymmetry values derived from the pAD versus CTR comparison thanks to support vector machine (SVM).

Results: The areas under the ROC curves between pAD and CTR were 0.84 for VROI-1, 0.83 for VROI-2, 0.79 for SPM maps, 0.87 for PALZ, and 0.95 for VROI-SVM. Pairwise comparisons of Youden index did not show statistically significant differences in diagnostic performance between VROI-1, VROI-2, SPM-Maps, and PALZ score whereas VROI-SVM performed significantly (p < 0.005) better than any of the other methods.

Conclusion: The study confirms the good accuracy of [18]F-FDG-PET in discriminating healthy subjects from pAD and highlights that a non-linear, automatic VROI classifier based on SVM performs better than the voxel-based methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-181022DOI Listing
June 2020

Two-Year Longitudinal Monitoring of Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients with Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease Using Topographical Biomarkers Derived from Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Electroencephalographic Activity.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;69(1):15-35

IRCCS SDN, Napoli, Italy.

Auditory "oddball" event-related potentials (aoERPs), resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) connectivity, and electroencephalographic (rsEEG) rhythms were tested as longitudinal functional biomarkers of prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD). Data were collected at baseline and four follow-ups at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months in amnesic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients classified in two groups: "positive" (i.e., "prodromal AD"; n = 81) or "negative" (n = 63) based on a diagnostic marker of AD derived from cerebrospinal samples (Aβ42/P-tau ratio). A linear mixed model design was used to test functional biomarkers for Group, Time, and Group×Time effects adjusted by nuisance covariates (only data until conversion to dementia was used). Functional biomarkers that showed significant Group effects ("positive" versus "negative", p < 0.05) regardless of Time were 1) reduced rsfMRI connectivity in both the default mode network (DMN) and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), both also giving significant Time effects (connectivity decay regardless of Group); 2) increased rsEEG source activity at delta (<4 Hz) and theta (4-8 Hz) rhythms and decreased source activity at low-frequency alpha (8-10.5 Hz) rhythms; and 3) reduced parietal and posterior cingulate source activities of aoERPs. Time×Group effects showed differential functional biomarker progression between groups: 1) increased rsfMRI connectivity in the left parietal cortex of the DMN nodes, consistent with compensatory effects and 2) increased limbic source activity at theta rhythms. These findings represent the first longitudinal characterization of functional biomarkers of prodromal AD relative to "negative" aMCI patients based on 5 serial recording sessions over 2 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180158DOI Listing
September 2020

Plasma Aβ42 as a Biomarker of Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease Progression in Patients with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: Evidence from the PharmaCog/E-ADNI Study.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;69(1):37-48

Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Alzheimer's Epidemiology, IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

It is an open issue whether blood biomarkers serve to diagnose Alzheimer's disease (AD) or monitor its progression over time from prodromal stages. Here, we addressed this question starting from data of the European FP7 IMI-PharmaCog/E-ADNI longitudinal study in amnesic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients including biological, clinical, neuropsychological (e.g., ADAS-Cog13), neuroimaging, and electroencephalographic measures. PharmaCog/E-ADNI patients were classified as "positive" (i.e., "prodromal AD" n = 76) or "negative" (n = 52) based on a diagnostic cut-off of Aβ42/P-tau in cerebrospinal fluid as well as APOE ε 4 genotype. Blood was sampled at baseline and at two follow-ups (12 and 18 months), when plasma amyloid peptide 42 and 40 (Aβ42, Aβ40) and apolipoprotein J (clusterin, CLU) were assessed. Linear Mixed Models found no significant differences in plasma molecules between the "positive" (i.e., prodromal AD) and "negative" groups at baseline. In contrast, plasma Aβ42 showed a greater reduction over time in the prodromal AD than the "negative" aMCI group (p = 0.048), while CLU and Aβ40 increased, but similarly in the two groups. Furthermore, plasma Aβ42 correlated with the ADAS-Cog13 score both in aMCI patients as a whole and the prodromal AD group alone. Finally, CLU correlated with the ADAS-Cog13 only in the whole aMCI group, and no association with ADAS-Cog13 was found for Aβ40. In conclusion, plasma Aβ42 showed disease progression-related features in aMCI patients with prodromal AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180321DOI Listing
September 2020

Imaging Biomarkers of Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's Disease: Distinct Contributions of Cortical MRI Atrophy and FDG-PET Hypometabolism.

J Alzheimers Dis 2018 ;65(4):1147-1157

Neurology and Neuropsychology Department and CMMR PACA Ouest, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, Marseille, France.

Background: Neurodegeneration biomarkers are routinely used in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Objective: To evaluate the respective contributions of two neuroimaging biomarkers, structural MRI and 18FDG-PET, in the assessment of neurodegeneration in AD dementia.

Methods: Patients with mild AD dementia diagnosed based on clinical and cerebrospinal fluid criteria and cognitively healthy subjects, from the Marseille cohort ADAge with cognitive, structural MRI and 18FDG-PET assessments, were included. Extent of atrophy on MRI and of hypometabolism on 18FDG-PET were individually evaluated in each patient using a voxel-based analysis on whole-brain approach and compared to healthy subjects. Patients were divided in distinct groups according to their atrophy extent on the one hand and to their hypometabolism extent on the other, then, to their imaging profile combining the extent of the two biomarkers.

Results: Fifty-two patients were included. The MMSE score was significantly lower in the "Extensive hypometabolism" group than in the "Limited hypometabolism" group (respectively 19.5/30 versus 23/30). A lower Innotest Amyloid Tau Index was associated with an extensive hypometabolism (p = 0.04). There were more patients with low educational level in the "Extensive atrophy" group, while a higher educational level was more found in the "Limited atrophy" group (p = 0.005).

Conclusion: 18FDG-PET hypometabolism extent is associated with the pathological processes and clinical severity of AD, while MRI atrophy seems to be influenced by the cognitive reserve. In the context of mild AD dementia, these two biomarkers of neurodegeneration are thus not interchangeable and require to be considered in combination rather than in isolation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180292DOI Listing
August 2019

Novel VCP mutations expand the mutational spectrum of frontotemporal dementia.

Neurobiol Aging 2018 12 30;72:187.e11-187.e14. Epub 2018 Jun 30.

Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Inserm U1127, CNRS UMR 7225, Institut du Cerveau et la Moelle épinière (ICM), AP-HP - Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France; Centre de référence des démences rares ou précoces, IM2A, Département de Neurologie, AP-HP - Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France. Electronic address:

Valosin-containing protein (VCP) mutations are rare causes of autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementias associated with Paget's disease of bone, inclusion body myopathy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We analyzed the VCP gene in a cohort of 199 patients with frontotemporal dementia and identified 7 heterozygous mutations in unrelated families, including 3 novel mutations segregating with dementia. This expands the VCP mutation spectrum and suggests that although VCP mutations are rare (3.5% in this study), the gene should be analyzed even in absence of the full syndromic complex. Reporting genetic variants with convincing arguments for pathogenicity is important considering the large amount of data generated by next-generation sequencing and the growing difficulties to interpret rare genetic variants identified in isolated cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.06.037DOI Listing
December 2018

Predicting and Tracking Short Term Disease Progression in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients with Prodromal Alzheimer's Disease: Structural Brain Biomarkers.

J Alzheimers Dis 2019 ;69(1):3-14

Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Alzheimer's Epidemiology, IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni diDio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Early Alzheimer's disease (AD) detection using cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers has been recommended as enrichment strategy for trials involving mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients.

Objective: To model a prodromal AD trial for identifying MRI structural biomarkers to improve subject selection and to be used as surrogate outcomes of disease progression.

Methods: APOE ɛ4 specific CSF Aβ42/P-tau cut-offs were used to identify MCI with prodromal AD (Aβ42/P-tau positive) in the WP5-PharmaCog (E-ADNI) cohort. Linear mixed models were performed 1) with baseline structural biomarker, time, and biomarker×time interaction as factors to predict longitudinal changes in ADAS-cog13, 2) with Aβ42/P-tau status, time, and Aβ42/P-tau status×time interaction as factors to explain the longitudinal changes in MRI measures, and 3) to compute sample size estimation for a trial implemented with the selected biomarkers.

Results: Only baseline lateral ventricle volume was able to identify a subgroup of prodromal AD patients who declined faster (interaction, p = 0.003). Lateral ventricle volume and medial temporal lobe measures were the biomarkers most sensitive to disease progression (interaction, p≤0.042). Enrichment through ventricular volume reduced the sample size that a clinical trial would require from 13 to 76%, depending on structural outcome variable. The biomarker needing the lowest sample size was the hippocampal subfield GC-ML-DG (granule cells of molecular layer of the dentate gyrus) (n = 82 per arm to demonstrate a 20% atrophy reduction).

Conclusion: MRI structural biomarkers can enrich prodromal AD with fast progressors and significantly decrease group size in clinical trials of disease modifying drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180152DOI Listing
September 2020

Changes of metabolism and functional connectivity in late-onset deafness: Evidence from cerebral F-FDG-PET.

Hear Res 2017 09 27;353:8-16. Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille, Aix-Marseille Université, Timone University Hospital, France; Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, UMR 7289, INT, Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, Marseille, France; CERIMED, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France. Electronic address:

Hearing loss is known to impact brain function. The aim of this study was to characterize cerebral metabolic Positron Emission Tomography (PET) changes in elderly patients fulfilling criteria for cochlear implant and investigate the impact of hearing loss on functional connectivity. Statistical Parametric Mapping-T-scores-maps comparisons of F-FDG-PET of 27 elderly patients fulfilling criteria for cochlear implant for hearing loss (best-aided speech intelligibility lower or equal to 50%) and 27 matched healthy subjects (p < 0.005, corrected for volume extent) were performed. Metabolic connectivity was evaluated through interregional correlation analysis. Patients were found to have decreased metabolism within the right associative auditory cortex, while increased metabolism was found in prefrontal areas, pre- and post-central areas, the cingulum and the left inferior parietal gyrus. The right associative auditory cortex was integrated into a network of increased metabolic connectivity that included pre- and post-central areas, the cingulum, the right inferior parietal gyrus, as well as the striatum on both sides. Metabolic values of the right associative auditory cortex and left inferior parietal gyrus were positively correlated with performance on neuropsychological test scores. These findings provide further insight into the reorganization of the connectome through sensory loss and compensatory mechanisms in elderly patients with severe hearing loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2017.07.011DOI Listing
September 2017

The frequency and influence of dementia risk factors in prodromal Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2017 08 8;56:33-40. Epub 2017 Apr 8.

Institute of Molecular Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

We investigated whether dementia risk factors were associated with prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD) according to the International Working Group-2 and National Institute of Aging-Alzheimer's Association criteria, and with cognitive decline. A total of 1394 subjects with mild cognitive impairment from 14 different studies were classified according to these research criteria, based on cognitive performance and biomarkers. We compared the frequency of 10 risk factors between the subgroups, and used Cox-regression to examine the effect of risk factors on cognitive decline. Depression, obesity, and hypercholesterolemia occurred more often in individuals with low-AD-likelihood, compared with those with a high-AD-likelihood. Only alcohol use increased the risk of cognitive decline, regardless of AD pathology. These results suggest that traditional risk factors for AD are not associated with prodromal AD or with progression to dementia, among subjects with mild cognitive impairment. Future studies should validate these findings and determine whether risk factors might be of influence at an earlier stage (i.e., preclinical) of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.03.034DOI Listing
August 2017

Difference in imaging biomarkers of neurodegeneration between early and late-onset amnestic Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2017 06 21;54:22-30. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Aix-Marseille Université, INSERM UMR 1106, Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, Marseille, France; Neurology and Neuropyschology Department & CMRR PACA Ouest, AP-HM, Marseille, France.

Neuroimaging biomarkers differ between patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) and late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Whether these changes reflect cognitive heterogeneity or differences in disease severity is still unknown. This study aimed at investigating changes in neuroimaging biomarkers, according to the age of onset of the disease, in mild amnestic Alzheimer's disease patients with positive amyloid biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid. Both patient groups were impaired on tasks assessing verbal and visual recognition memory. EOAD patients showed greater executive and linguistic deficits, while LOAD patients showed greater semantic memory impairment. In EOAD and LOAD, hypometabolism involved the bilateral temporoparietal junction and the posterior cingulate cortex. In EOAD, atrophy was widespread, including frontotemporoparietal areas, whereas it was limited to temporal regions in LOAD. Atrophic volumes were greater in EOAD than in LOAD. Hypometabolic volumes were similar in the 2 groups. Greater extent of atrophy in EOAD, despite similar extent of hypometabolism, could reflect different underlying pathophysiological processes, different glucose-based compensatory mechanisms or distinct level of premorbid atrophic lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.02.010DOI Listing
June 2017

Association between CSF biomarkers, hippocampal volume and cognitive function in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Neurobiol Aging 2017 05 18;53:1-10. Epub 2017 Jan 18.

Department of Neurology, Alzheimer Centre, VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Few studies have examined the relationship between CSF and structural biomarkers, and cognitive function in MCI. We examined the relationship between cognitive function, hippocampal volume and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ and tau in 145 patients with MCI. Patients were assessed on cognitive tasks from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Functional Activities Questionnaire. Hippocampal volume was measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CSF markers of Aβ, tau and p-tau were also measured. Worse performance on a wide range of memory and sustained attention tasks were associated with reduced hippocampal volume, higher CSF tau and p-tau and increased tau/Aβ ratio. Memory tasks were also associated with lower ability to conduct functional activities of daily living, providing a link between AD biomarkers, memory performance and functional outcome. These results suggest that biomarkers of Aβ and tau are strongly related to cognitive performance as assessed by the CANTAB, and have implications for the early detection and characterization of incipient AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.01.013DOI Listing
May 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

Early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer's disease are associated with distinct patterns of memory impairment.

Cortex 2016 Jan 17;74:217-32. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Université Aix-Marseille, INSERM, Institut des Neurosciences des Systèmes (INS) UMR 1106, Marseille, France; APHM, Hôpitaux de la Timone, Service de Neurologie et de Neuropsychologie, Marseille, France.

The goal of this study was to investigate the specific patterns of memory breakdown in patients suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) and late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Twenty EOAD patients, twenty LOAD patients, twenty matched younger controls, and twenty matched older controls participated in this study. All participants underwent a detailed neuropsychological assessment, an MRI scan, an FDG-PET scan, and AD patients had biomarkers as supporting evidence of both amyloïdopathy and neuronal injury. Results of the neuropsychological assessment showed that both EOAD and LOAD groups were impaired in the domains of memory, executive functions, language, praxis, and visuoconstructional abilities, when compared to their respective control groups. EOAD and LOAD groups, however, showed distinct patterns of memory impairment. Even though both groups were similarly affected on measures of episodic, short term and working memory, in contrast semantic memory was significantly more impaired in LOAD than in EOAD patients. The EOAD group was not more affected than the LOAD group in any memory domain. EOAD patients, however, showed significantly poorer performance in other cognitive domains including executive functions and visuoconstructional abilities. A more detailed analysis of the pattern of semantic memory performance among patient groups revealed that the LOAD was more profoundly impaired, in tasks of both spontaneous recall and semantic recognition. Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) analyses showed that impaired semantic performance in patients was associated with reduced gray matter volume in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) region, while PET-FDG analyses revealed that poorer semantic performance was associated with greater hypometabolism in the left temporoparietal region, both areas reflecting key regions of the semantic network. Results of this study indicate that EOAD and LOAD patients present with distinct patterns of memory impairment, and that a genuine semantic impairment may represent one of the clinical hallmarks of LOAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.10.014DOI Listing
January 2016

Lateral Temporal Lobe: An Early Imaging Marker of the Presymptomatic GRN Disease?

J Alzheimers Dis 2015 ;47(3):751-9

Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, UMR S 1127, ICM, Paris, France.

The preclinical stage of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is not well characterized. We conducted a brain metabolism (FDG-PET) and structural (cortical thickness) study to detect early changes in asymptomatic GRN mutation carriers (aGRN+) that were evaluated longitudinally over a 20-month period. At baseline, a left lateral temporal lobe hypometabolism was present in aGRN+ without any structural changes. Importantly, this is the first longitudinal study and, across time, the metabolism more rapidly decreased in aGRN+ in lateral temporal and frontal regions. The main structural change observed in the longitudinal study was a reduction of cortical thickness in the left lateral temporal lobe in carriers. A limit of this study is the relatively small sample (n = 16); nevertheless, it provides important results. First, it evidences that the pathological processes develop a long time before clinical onset, and that early neuroimaging changes might be detected approximately 20 years before the clinical onset of disease. Second, it suggests that metabolic changes are detectable before structural modifications and cognitive deficits. Third, both the baseline and longitudinal studies provide converging results implicating lateral temporal lobe as early involved in GRN disease. Finally, our study demonstrates that structural and metabolic changes could represent possible biomarkers to monitor the progression of disease in the presymptomatic stage toward clinical onset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-150270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923734PMC
July 2016

Longitudinal reproducibility of default-mode network connectivity in healthy elderly participants: A multicentric resting-state fMRI study.

Neuroimage 2016 Jan 9;124(Pt A):442-454. Epub 2015 Jul 9.

IRCCS SDN, Naples, Italy; University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy.

To date, limited data are available regarding the inter-site consistency of test-retest reproducibility of functional connectivity measurements, in particular with regard to integrity of the Default Mode Network (DMN) in elderly participants. We implemented a harmonized resting-state fMRI protocol on 13 clinical scanners at 3.0T using vendor-provided sequences. Each site scanned a group of 5 healthy elderly participants twice, at least a week apart. We evaluated inter-site differences and test-retest reproducibility of both temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR) and functional connectivity measurements derived from: i) seed-based analysis (SBA) with seed in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), ii) group independent component analysis (ICA) separately for each site (site ICA), and iii) consortium ICA, with group ICA across the whole consortium. Despite protocol harmonization, significant and quantitatively important inter-site differences remained in the tSNR of resting-state fMRI data; these were plausibly driven by hardware and pulse sequence differences across scanners which could not be harmonized. Nevertheless, the tSNR test-retest reproducibility in the consortium was high (ICC=0.81). The DMN was consistently extracted across all sites and analysis methods. While significant inter-site differences in connectivity scores were found, there were no differences in the associated test-retest error. Overall, ICA measurements were more reliable than PCC-SBA, with site ICA showing higher reproducibility than consortium ICA. Across the DMN nodes, the PCC yielded the most reliable measurements (≈4% test-retest error, ICC=0.85), the medial frontal cortex the least reliable (≈12%, ICC=0.82) and the lateral parietal cortices were in between (site ICA). Altogether these findings support usage of harmonized multisite studies of resting-state functional connectivity to characterize longitudinal effects in studies that assess disease progression and treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.07.010DOI Listing
January 2016
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