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Differential Atrophy of Hippocampal Subfields: A Comparative Study of Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Alzheimer Disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michael FirbankORCiD, Professor Andrew BlamireORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Objectives: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by relative preservation of the medial temporal lobe compared with Alzheimer disease (AD). The differential involvement of the hippocampal subfields in both diseases has not been clearly established, however. We aim to investigate hippocampal subfield differences in vivo in a clinical cohort of DLB and AD subjects. Methods: 104 participants (35 DLBs, 36 ADs, and 35 healthy comparison [HC] subjects) underwent clinical assessment and 3T T1-weighted imaging. A Bayesian model implemented in Freesurfer was used to automatically segment the hippocampus and its subfields. We also examined associations between hippocampal subfields and tests of memory function. Results: Both the AD and DLB groups demonstrated significant atrophy of the total hippocampus relative to HC but the DLB group was characterized by preservation of the cornu ammonis 1 (CA1), fimbria, and fissure. In contrast, all the hippocampal subfields except the fissure were significantly atrophied in AD compared with both DLB and HC groups. Among DLB subjects, CA1 was correlated with the Recent Memory score of the CAMCOG and Delayed Recall subscores of the HVLT. Conclusions: DLB is characterized by milder hippocampal atrophy that was accompanied by preservation of the CA1. The CA1 was also associated with memory function in DLB. Our findings highlight the promising role of hippocampal subfield volumetry, particularly that of the CA1, as a biomarker for the distinction between AD and DLB.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mak E, Su L, Williams GB, Watson R, Firbank M, Blamire A, O'Brien J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2016

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Pages: 136-143

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 25/06/2015

Acceptance date: 18/06/2015

Date deposited: 01/08/2016

ISSN (print): 1064-7481

ISSN (electronic): 1545-7214

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.06.006


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Funder referenceFunder name
Biomedical Research Centre
NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia
05/JTASir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust