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In CNS neuroscience & therapeutics

OBJECTIVES : Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) are known as the preclinical and early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The dorsal attention network (DAN) is mainly responsible for the "top-down" attention process. However, previous studies mainly focused on single functional modality and limited structure. This study aimed to investigate the multimodal alterations of DAN in SCD and aMCI to assess their diagnostic value in preclinical and early-stage AD.

METHODS : Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was carried out to measure the fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (fALFF), regional homogeneity (ReHo), and functional connectivity (FC). Structural MRI was used to calculate the gray matter volume (GMV) and cortical thickness. Moreover, receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to distinguish these alterations in SCD and aMCI.

RESULTS : The SCD and aMCI groups showed both decreased ReHo in the right middle temporal gyrus (MTG) and decreased GMV compared to healthy controls (HCs). Especially in the SCD group, there were increased fALFF and increased ReHo in the left inferior occipital gyrus (IOG), decreased fALFF and increased FC in the left inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and reduced cortical thickness in the right inferior temporal gyrus (ITG). Furthermore, functional and structural alterations in the SCD and aMCI groups were closely related to episodic memory (EM), executive function (EF), and information processing speed (IPS). The combination of multiple indicators of DAN had a high accuracy in differentiating clinical stages.

CONCLUSIONS : Our current study demonstrated functional and structural alterations of DAN in SCD and aMCI, especially in the MTG, IPL, and SPL. Furthermore, cognitive performance was closely related to these significant alterations. Our study further suggested that the combined multiple indicators of DAN could be acted as the latent neuroimaging markers of preclinical and early-stage AD for their high diagnostic value.

Wu Huimin, Song Yu, Yang Xinyi, Chen Shanshan, Ge Honglin, Yan Zheng, Qi Wenzhang, Yuan Qianqian, Liang Xuhong, Lin Xingjian, Chen Jiu


amnestic mild cognitive impairment, dorsal attention network, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, structural magnetic resonance imaging, subjective cognitive decline