, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 293-299
Date: 02 Feb 2008

Diffusion abnormalities of the uncinate fasciculus in Alzheimer’s disease: diffusion tensor tract-specific analysis using a new method to measure the core of the tract

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Abstract

Introduction

Our aim was to determine diffusion abnormalities in the uncinate fasciculus (UF) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) using a new method for measuring the core of the tract.

Methods

We studied 19 patients with AD and 19 age-matched control subjects who underwent MRI using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTT of the UF was generated. The mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) of the core of the tract were measured after voxelized tract shape processing. Student’s t-test was used to compare results between patients with AD and controls. Intraobserver correlation tests were also performed.

Results

FA was significantly lower (P < 0.0001) in the UF of patients with AD than of controls. There was no significant difference in MD along the UF between the two groups. Intraobserver reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient) for the first and second measurement was r > 0.93 for measured FA and r > 0.92 for measured MD.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that FA reflects progression of AD-related histopathological changes in the UF of the white matter and may represent a useful biological index in monitoring AD. Diffusion tensor tract-specific analysis with voxelized tract shape processing to measure the core of the tract may be a sensitive tool for evaluation of diffusion abnormalities of white matter tracts in AD.