Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 286
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825529

Rates of amygdala and hippocampus atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) – Correlations with cognitive decline

SJ Teipel 1, JC Pruessner 1, 2, C Graz 1, ALW Bokde 1, G Leinsinger 3, F Faltraco 1, AC Evans 2, HJ Möller 1, H Hampel 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany
  • 2McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • 3Department of Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

Rate of hippocampus atrophy is an early marker of allocortical degeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) correlating with overall cognitive decline. Amygdala is also early affected by AD pathology.

Objective: To determine rates of amygdala and hippocampus atrophy in AD and to assess correlations between rates of atrophy and rates of cognitive decline.

Methods: Amygdala and hippocampus volumes from 22 AD-patients and 21 elderly controls were determined from volumetric T1-weighted MRI.

Results: Volumes of amygdala and hippocampus were significantly reduced in patients compared to controls. Annual rates of atrophy were 18% for amygdala and 14% for hippocampus in AD. Rates of hippocampus atrophy were correlated with rates of decline (MMSE) and memory subscores (CERAD-battery). Rates of left amygdala atrophy correlated with rates of decline (MMSE). There were no correlations with rates of decline in memory subscores.

Conclusion: Amygdala atrophy may be a marker of allocortical structural disease progression in AD.