Postmortem MRI and histology demonstrate differential iron accumulation and cortical myelin organization in early- and late-onset Alzheimer's disease

Marjolein Bulk, Walid M. Abdelmoula, Rob J. A. Nabuurs, Linda M. van der Graaf, Coen W. H. Mulders, Aat A. Mulder, Carolina R. Jost, Abraham J. Koster, Mark A. van Buchem, Remco Natté, Jouke Dijkstra, Louise van der Weerd

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Previous MRI studies reported cortical iron accumulation in early-onset (EOAD) compared to late-onset (LOAD) Alzheimer disease patients. However, the pattern and origin of iron accumulation is poorly understood. This study investigated the histopathological correlates of MRI contrast in both EOAD and LOAD. T2*-weighted MRI was performed on postmortem frontal cortex of controls, EOAD, and LOAD. Images were ordinally scored using predefined criteria followed by histology. Nonlinear histology-MRI registration was used to calculate pixel-wise spatial correlations based on the signal intensity. EOAD and LOAD were distinguishable based on 7T MRI from controls and from each other. Histology-MRI correlation analysis of the pixel intensities showed that the MRI contrast is best explained by increased iron accumulation and changes in cortical myelin, whereas amyloid and tau showed less spatial correspondence with T2*-weighted MRI. Neuropathologically, subtypes of Alzheimer's disease showed different patterns of iron accumulation and cortical myelin changes independent of amyloid and tau that may be detected by high-field susceptibility-based MRI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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