The association between white matter hyperintensities and executive decline in mild cognitive impairment is network dependent

H.I.L. Jacobs, P.J. Visser, M.P.J. van Boxtel, G.B. Frisoni, M. Tsolaki, P. Papapostolou, F. Nobili, L.O. Wahlund, L. Minthon, L. Frolich, H. Hampel, H. Soininen, L. van de Pol, P. Scheltens, F.E.S. Tan, J. Jolles, F.R.J. Verhey

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White matter hyperintensities (WMH) in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) have been associated with impaired executive functioning, although contradictory findings have been reported. The aim of this study was to examine whether WMH location influenced the relation between WMH and executive functioning in MCI participants (55-90 years) in the European multicenter memory-clinic-based DESCRIPA study, who underwent MRI scanning at baseline (N = 337). Linear mixed model analysis was performed to test the association between WMH damage in three networks (frontal-parietal, frontal-subcortical and frontal-parietal-subcortical network) and change in executive functioning over a 3-year period. WMH in the frontal-parietal and in the frontal-parietal-subcortical network were associated with decline in executive functioning. However, the frontal-subcortical network was not associated with change in executive functioning. Our results suggest that parietal WMH are a significant contributor to executive decline in MCI and that investigation of WMH in the cerebral networks supporting cognitive functions provide a new way to differentiate stable from cognitive declining MCI individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberARTN 201.e1
Pages (from-to)201.e1-201.e8
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • White matter hyperintensities
  • Executive function
  • Frontoparietal circuit

Cite this

Jacobs, H. I. L., Visser, P. J., van Boxtel, M. P. J., Frisoni, G. B., Tsolaki, M., Papapostolou, P., Nobili, F., Wahlund, L. O., Minthon, L., Frolich, L., Hampel, H., Soininen, H., van de Pol, L., Scheltens, P., Tan, F. E. S., Jolles, J., & Verhey, F. R. J. (2012). The association between white matter hyperintensities and executive decline in mild cognitive impairment is network dependent. Neurobiology of Aging, 33(1), 201.e1-201.e8. [ARTN 201.e1].