Long-term response to cholinesterase inhibitor treatment is related to functional MRI response in Alzheimer's disease

Pekka S. Miettinen, Anne M. Jauhiainen, Ina M. Tarkka, Maija Pihlajamäki, Heidi Gröhn, Eini Niskanen, Tuomo Hänninen, Ritva Vanninen, Hilkka Soininen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI) enhances cholinergic activity and alleviates clinical symptoms. However, there is variation in the clinical response as well as system level changes revealed by functional MRI (fMRI) studies. Methods: We investigated 18 newly diagnosed mild AD patients with fMRI using a face recognition task after a single oral dose of rivastigmine, a single dose of placebo and 1-month treatment with rivastigmine. The clinical follow-up took place at 6 and 12 months. Results: MMSE score difference between baseline and the follow-ups showed a positive correlation with fMRI activation difference between treatment and placebo in the right prefrontal cortex. A negative correlation was found for the left prefrontal cortex and the left fusiform gyrus. In addition, greater signal intensity in the right versus the left fusiform gyrus predicted a response to ChEI with increasing MMSE scores during the follow-up with 77.8% sensitivity and 77.8% specificity. Conclusions: The increased fMRI activation by cholinergic stimulation in brain areas associated with the processing of the visual task reveals still functioning brain networks and a subsequent positive effect of ChEI on cognition. Thus, fMRI may be useful for identifying AD patients most likely to respond to treatment with ChEI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Volume40
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cholinesterase inhibitor
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Memory
  • Visual processing

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