Front Neurosci 2018 10;12:927. Epub 2018 Dec 10.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the most common forms of dementia that has slowly negative impacts on memory and cognition. With the assistance of multimodal brain networks and graph-based analysis approaches, AD-related network disruptions support the hypothesis that AD can be identified as a dysconnectivity syndrome. However, as the recent emerging of individual-based morphological network research of AD, the utilization of multiple morphometric features may provide a broader horizon for locating the lesions. Therefore, the present study applied the newly proposed individual morphological brain network with five commonly used morphometric features (cortical thickness, regional volume, surface area, mean curvature, and fold index) to explore the topological aberrations and their relationship with cognitive functioning alterations in the early stage of AD. A total of 40 right-handed participants were selected from Open Access Series of Imaging Studies Database with 20 AD patients (age ranged from 70 to 79, CDR = 0.5) and 20 age/gender-matched healthy controls. The significantly affected connections ( < 0.05 with FDR correction) were observed across multiple regions, both enhanced and attenuated correlations, primarily related to the left entorhinal cortex (ENT). In addition, profoundly changed Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score and global efficiency ( < 0.05) were noted in the AD patients, as well as the pronounced inter-group distinctions of betweenness centrality, global and local efficiency ( < 0.05) in the higher MMSE score zone (28-30), which indicating the potential role of graphic properties in determination of early-stage AD patients. Moreover, the reservations (regions in the occipital and frontal lobes) and alterations (regions in the right temporal lobe and cingulate cortex) of hubs were also detected in the AD patients. Overall, the findings further confirm the selective AD-related disruptions in morphological brain networks and also suggest the feasibility of applying the morphological graphic properties in the discrimination of early-stage AD patients.