Reduced Cerebral Blood Flow in Mild Cognitive Impairment Assessed Using Phase-Contrast MRI
Reyes García de Eulate 1 , Irene Goñi 1 2 , Alvaro Galiano 1 , Marta Vidorreta 3 , Miriam Recio 4 , Mario Riverol 4 , José L Zubieta 1 , María A Fernández-Seara 1 2
There is increasing evidence of a vascular contribution to Alzheimer's disease (AD). In some cases, prior work suggests that chronic brain hypoperfusion could play a prime pathogenic role contributing to the accumulation of amyloid-β,while other studies favor the hypothesis that vascular dysfunction and amyloid pathology are independent, although synergistic, mechanisms contributing to cognitive impairment.
Vascular dysfunction can be evaluated by assessing cerebral blood flow impairment. Phase contrast velocity mapping by MRI offers a non-invasive means of quantifying the total inflow of blood to the brain.
This quantitative parameter could be a sensitive indicator of vascular disease at early stages of AD. In this work, phase contrast MRI was used to evaluate cerebral hemodynamics in patients with subjective memory complaints, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and mild to moderate AD, and compare them with control subjects.
Results showed that blood flow and velocity were decreased in the patients with cognitive dysfunction and the decrease correlated with the degree of cognitive impairment as assessed by means of neuropsychological tests.
Total cerebral blood flow measurements were clearly reduced in AD patients, but more importantly appeared to be sensitive enough to distinguish between healthy subjects and those with mild cognitive impairment. A quantitative measurement of total brain blood flow could potentially predict vascular dysfunction and compromised brain perfusion in early stages of AD.