Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences

Cortical atrophy, reduced integrity of white matter and cognitive impairment in subcortical vascular dementia of Binswanger type.

PMID 24773562


An association between white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and cognitive dysfunction has long been recognized. However, subjects with identically appearing WMH on magnetic resonance imaging present with a wide variance in cognitive function ranging from normal cognition to dementia. The aim of this study was to compare cortical atrophy and integrity of white matter of patients with subcortical vascular dementia of Binswanger type (SVaD-BT) with those of the normal cognition group with WMH (ncWMH). Eleven patients with SVaD-BT and 11 age-, sex-, education- and grade of WMH-matched ncWMH underwent magnetic resonance imaging, including 3-D volumetric images for cortical atrophy and diffusion tensor imaging for integrity of white matter. Compared to ncWMH, SVaD-BT patients showed cortical atrophies in frontal (i.e. frontal pole, precentral gyrus and frontal medial cortex) and occipital areas (i.e. lingual gyrus) followed by atrophies in temporal (i.e. fusiform cortex and middle temporal gyrus) areas. Along with cortical atrophies, reduced integrity with low fractional anisotropy and high mean diffusivity values in genu and splenium of the corpus callosum were detected in SVaD-BT patients. Our findings suggest that cognitive decline from ncWMH to SVaD-BT may be associated with cortical atrophy and reduced integrity of white matter.