Changes in premorbid brain volume predict Alzheimer's disease pathology

Lisa C. Silbert, J. F. Quinn, M. M. Moore, E. Corbridge, M. J. Ball, G. Murdoch, G. Sexton, J. A. Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess whether changes in antemortem MRI brain volume measurements are valid predictors of subsequent Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. Methods: Thirty-nine subjects, 15 nondemented and 24 with cognitive impairment, were followed until death. Regional postmortem measures of senile plaque (SP) and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) severity were examined in relationship to cross-sectional and longitudinal volumetric measurements obtained from antemortem MRI. Results: Total brain volume change over time was related to the accumulation of cortical NFT. The rate of ventricular CSF volume increase was related to both cortical NFT and SP. The last hippocampal volume prior to death was related to hippocampal NFT burden; the rate of hippocampal volume atrophy was not related to hippocampal NFT pathology. These significant relationships continue to exist when all nondemented subjects are excluded from analysis. In subjects with cognitive impairment, the best predictor of cortical NFT and SP is the rate of ventricular volume increase. Excluding subjects with long duration between MRI and death did not appreciably alter results. Conclusions: MRI volumes measured over time are valid biomarkers of pathologic progression of AD across a range of antemortem clinical states. The rate of ventricular volume enlargement can be used to monitor disease progression or response to treatment in future clinical trials that are targeted at NFT and SP pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-492
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 26 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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