Cerebral gray matter volume reduction in subcortical vascular mild cognitive impairment patients and subcortical vascular dementia patients, and its relation with cognitive deficits
Though subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD) is known to initially affect subcortical regions, numerous brain imaging studies have also documented the widespread cortical alternations. Here we collected brain structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 34 SIVD patients and 35 healthy controls. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM), cortical thickness (and surface area) analysis and deep gray matter volume measurements were performed. VBM analysis showed gray matter volume reduction in lateral and medial temporal lobes, as well as orbitofrontal cortex in SIVD patients. The surface-based analyses revealed more subtle structural differences in the perisylvian area, medial temporal lobe, anterior and posterior cingulate, as well as prefrontal areas. Furthermore, analyses of deep gray matter demonstrated significant atrophy of the hippocampus, amygdala, nucleus accumbens and other nuclei. Finally, we found that thinning in the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex, as well as the volume decline in thalamus, caudate nucleus and amygdala was correlated with the cognitive impairment in patients. In conclusion, our study showed the structural abnormalities of the hippocampus and its associated outflow areas, as well as cortices implicated in cholinergic circuits in SIVD. These findings may bring new insights into the dysfunction of brain gray matter in SIVD.