Individuals with early-onset Alzheimer disease (EOAD) differ from those with late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) not only in genetics and age at onset but also in their clinical symptoms.
To differentiate the neuropathological and neurocognitive features of EOAD and LOAD by comparing the pattern of regional gray matter volume (GMV) reduction and its symptomatic correlates.
Three-dimensional T1-weighted MRIs and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were obtained from 12 individuals with EOAD, 65 with LOAD, and 49 healthy controls (HC). Regional GMV reduction between the three groups was assessed using voxel-based morphometry. Multiple regression analyses were conducted with MMSE total score as an independent variable.
Compared to the HC, both AD groups showed a significant GMV reduction in the bilateral hippocampus and the left temporoparietal junction; in addition, the LOAD group showed one in the bilateral anterior temporal lobes. Multiple regression analyses revealed a positive correlation between MMSE total score and GMV in the left anterior temporal lobe in both AD groups; that is, lower scores were associated with reduced GMV. Interestingly, a positive correlation in hippocampal GMV was revealed only in the LOAD group.
MMSE total score is associated with the anterior temporal lobe volume in individuals with AD. Hippocampal volume and its relationship with MMSE total score are associated with LOAD pathophysiology but not EOAD pathophysiology. The hippocampal volume reduction and low MMSE scores are hallmarks of LOAD but are less specific to EOAD, which may cause a delay in diagnosis.