White Matter Hyperintensities are Positively Associated with Cortical Thickness in Alzheimer's Disease

Heidi I. L. Jacobs*, Lies Clerx, Ed H. B. M. Gronenschild, Pauline Aalten, Frans R. J. Verhey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

White matter hyperintensities are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). White matter hyperintensities are believed to disconnect brain areas. We examined the topographical association between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness in controls, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and AD patients. We examined associations between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness among 18 older cognitively healthy participants, 18 amnestic MCI, and 17 mild AD patients. These associations were cluster-size corrected for multiple comparisons. In controls, a positive association between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness was found in lateral temporal gyri. In MCI patients, white matter hyperintensities were positively related to cortical thickness in frontal, temporal, and parietal areas. Positive associations between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness in AD patients were confined to parietal areas. The results of the interaction group by white matter hyperintensities on cortical thickness were consistent with the findings of positive associations in the parietal lobe for MCI and AD patients separately. In the frontal areas, controls and AD patients showed inverse associations between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness, while MCI patients still showed a positive association. These results suggest that a paradoxical relationship between white matter hyperintensities and cortical thickness could be a consequence of neuroinflammatory processes induced by AD-pathology and white matter hyperintensities. Alternatively, it might reflect a region-specific and disease-stage dependent compensatory hypertrophy in response to a compromised network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-422
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Compensation
  • cortical thickness
  • dementia
  • hypertrophy
  • inflammation
  • white matter hyperintensities

Cite this