Background: Decline of hippocampal volume on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be considered as a surrogate biomarker of accumulating Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. Previously, we showed in the prospective population-based Rotterdam Scan Study that a higher rate of decline of hippocampal volume on MRI precedes clinical AD or memory decline. We studied potential risk factors for decline of hippocampal volume. Methods: At baseline (1995-1996), 518 nondemented elderly subjects were included, and the cohort was re-examined in 1999 and in 2006. At each examination, hippocampal volume was determined using an automated segmentation procedure. In all, 301 persons had at least two three-dimensional MRI scans to assess decline in hippocampal volume. Results: Persons carrying the apolipoprotein E (APOE) e{open}4 allele had lower hippocampal volumes than persons with the e{open}3/e{open}3 genotype, but the rate of decline was not influenced by APOE genotype. In persons who did not use antihypertensive treatment, both a high (>90 mm Hg) and a low (<70 mm Hg) diastolic blood pressure were associated with a faster decline in hippocampal volume. Also, white matter lesions on baseline MRI were associated with a higher rate of decline in hippocampal volume. Conclusions: In a nondemented elderly population, persons with the APOE e{open}4 allele have a smaller hippocampal volume but not a higher rate of decline. Rate of decline of hippocampal volume was influenced by white matter lesions and diastolic blood pressure, supporting their hypothesized role in the pathogenesis of AD.

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Alzheimer's & Dementia
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

den Heijer, T., van der Lijn, F., Ikram, A., Koudstaal, P., van der Lugt, A., Krestin, G., … Breteler, M. (2012). Vascular risk factors, apolipoprotein E, and hippocampal decline on magnetic resonance imaging over a 10-year follow-up. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 8(5), 417–425. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2011.07.005