Ventral tegmental area disconnection contributes two years early to correctly classify patients converted to Alzheimer's Disease: implications for treatment

Serra, Laura, D'Amelio, Marcello, Esposito, Sharon, Di Domenico, Carlotta, Koch, Giacomo, Marra, Camillo, Mercuri, Nicola Biagio, Caltagirone, Carlo, Artusi, Carlo Alberto, Lopiano, Leonardo, Cercignani, Mara and Bozzali, Marco (2021) Ventral tegmental area disconnection contributes two years early to correctly classify patients converted to Alzheimer's Disease: implications for treatment. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 82 (3). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1387-2877

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Abstract

Background: Recent cross-sectional studies highlighted the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) as an early pathophysiological event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Objective: In this study, we longitudinally investigated by resting-state fMRI (RS-fMRI) a cohort of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD to evaluate the impact of VTA disconnection in predicting the conversion to AD.

Methods: a cohort of 35 patients with MCI due to AD were recruited and followed-up for 24 months. They underwent cognitive evaluation and RS-fMRI to assess VTA connectivity at baseline and at follow-up.

Results: At 24-month follow-up, 16 out of 35 patients converted to AD. Although converters and non-converters to AD did not differ in demographic and behavioral characteristics at baseline, the first group showed a significant reduction of VTA-driven connectivity in the posterior cingulate and precentral cortex. This pattern of additional disconnection in MCI-converters compared to non-converters remained substantially unchanged at 24-month follow-up.

Discussion: This study reinforces the hypothesis of an early contribution of dopaminergic dysfunction to AD evolution by targeting the default-mode network. These results have potential implications for AD staging and prognosis and support new opportunities for therapeutic interventions to slow down disease progression

Item Type: Article
Keywords: VTA, Resting state MRI, functional connectivity, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease, dopaminergic system
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 07:26
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2021 09:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/99236

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