INTRODUCTION: To date, the clinical relevance of comorbid amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology in patients with vascular cognitive disorders (VCD) is largely unknown.
METHODS: We included 218 VCD patients with available cerebrospinal fluid Aβ42 levels. Patients were divided into Aβ+ mild-VCD (n = 84), Aβ- mild-VCD (n = 68), Aβ+ major-VCD (n = 31), and Aβ- major-VCD (n = 35). We measured depression with the Geriatric Depression Scale, cognition with a neuropsychological test battery and derived white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and gray matter atrophy from MRI.
RESULTS: Aβ- patients showed more depressive symptoms than Aβ+. In the major-VCD group, Aβ- patients performed worse on attention (P = .02) and executive functioning (P = .008) than Aβ+. We found no cognitive differences in patients with mild VCD. In the mild-VCD group, Aβ- patients had more WMH than Aβ+ patients, whereas conversely, in the major-VCD group, Aβ+ patients had more WMH. Atrophy patterns did not differ between Aβ+ and Aβ- VCD group.
DISCUSSION: Comorbid Aβ pathology affects the manifestation of VCD, but effects differ by severity of VCD.