Feb 9, 2020

Cholinergic white matter pathways make a stronger contribution to attention and memory in normal aging than cerebrovascular health and nucleus basalis of Meynert

NeuroImage
Milan NemyDaniel Ferreira

Abstract

The integrity of the cholinergic system plays a central role in cognitive decline both in normal aging and neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease and vascular cognitive impairment. Most of the previous neuroimaging research has focused on the integrity of the cholinergic basal forebrain, or its sub-region the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM). Tractography using diffusion tensor imaging data may enable modelling of the NBM white matter projections. We investigated the contribution of NBM volume, NBM white matter projections, small vessel disease (SVD), and age to performance in attention and memory in 262 cognitively normal individuals (39-77 years of age, 53% female). We developed a multimodal MRI pipeline for NBM segmentation and diffusion-based tracking of NBM white matter projections, and computed white matter hypointensities (WM-hypo) as a marker of SVD. We successfully tracked pathways that closely resemble the spatial layout of the cholinergic system as seen in previous post-mortem and DTI tractography studies. We found that high WM-hypo load was associated with older age, male sex, and lower performance in attention and memory. A high WM-hypo load was also associated with lower integrity of the cholinergic ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Basal Forebrain
Layout
Cholinergic Nerves
Neuroimaging
Cognitive Deterioration
White Matter
Tracking
Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases
Biological Markers
Diffusion Tractography

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