Edinburgh Research Explorer

MRS shows abnormalities before symptoms in familial Alzheimer disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • A K Godbolt
  • A D Waldman
  • D G MacManus
  • J M Schott
  • C Frost
  • L Cipolotti
  • N C Fox
  • M N Rossor

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-22
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2006


BACKGROUND: Pathologic change in Alzheimer disease (AD) begins some years before symptoms. MRS has the potential to detect metabolic abnormalities reflecting this early pathologic change. Presenilin 1 (PS1) and amyloid precursor protein (APP) mutation carriers have a nearly 100% risk of developing AD and may be studied prior to symptom onset.

METHODS: Short echo time proton MR spectra were acquired from a midline posterior cingulate voxel in presymptomatic carriers of PS1 or APP mutations ("presymptomatic mutation carriers" [PMCs]; n = 7) and age- and sex-matched control subjects (n = 6). Ratios of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), myo-inositol (MI), and choline-containing compounds (Cho) to creatine (Cr) were measured and NAA/MI calculated. Regression analyses and t tests were performed after log transformation.

RESULTS: PMC and control subjects were matched for age and sex. PMC subjects were 1.7 to 21.6 years (mean 9.8 years) before expected symptom onset, predicted from family-specific mean age at onset. Age did not significantly affect metabolite ratios. Geometric mean ratios in control subjects were as follows: NAA/Cr = 1.75, MI/Cr = 0.59, and NAA/MI = 2.95. NAA/Cr and NAA/MI were significantly reduced in PMC relative to controls (NAA/Cr mean decrease 10% [95% CI 2 to 18%]; NAA/MI mean decrease 25% [95% CI 3 to 44%]). MI/Cr was increased in PMC, but the differences did not achieve significance (19% increase [95% CI 1% decrease to 41% increase]; p = 0.07)). In PMCs, reduction in NAA/MI (p = 0.001) and MI/Cr (p = 0.002) were related to proximity of expected age at onset.

CONCLUSIONS: Metabolic changes are detectable in presymptomatic mutation carriers years before expected onset of Alzheimer disease. Their magnitude is related to proximity of expected age at onset.

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Age of Onset, Alzheimer Disease, Brain, Carrier State, Child, Child, Preschool, Family, Female, Humans, Infant, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Reference Values, Comparative Study, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

ID: 46190984