Pattern of Altered Magnetization Transfer Rate in Alzheimer's Disease

Wenna Duan, Parshant Sehrawat, Tony D. Zhou, James T. Becker, Oscar L. Lopez, H. Michael Gach, Weiying Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) are crucial for early diagnosis and treatment monitoring once disease modifying therapies become available. Objective: This study aims to quantify the forward magnetization transfer rate (kfor) map from brain tissue water to macromolecular protons and use it to identify the brain regions with abnormal kfor in AD and AD progression. Methods: From the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) cognition study, magnetization transfer imaging (MTI) was acquired at baseline from 63 participants, including 20 normal controls (NC), 18 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 25 AD subjects. Of those, 53 participants completed a follow-up MRI scan and were divided into four groups: 15 stable NC, 12 NC-to-MCI, 12 stable MCI, and 14 MCI/AD-to-AD subjects. kfor maps were compared across NC, MCI, and AD groups at baseline for the cross-sectional study and across four longitudinal groups for the longitudinal study. Results: We found a lower kfor in the frontal gray matter (GM), parietal GM, frontal corona radiata (CR) white matter (WM) tracts, frontal and parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) WM tracts in AD relative to both NC and MCI. Further, we observed progressive decreases of kfor in the frontal GM, parietal GM, frontal and parietal CR WM tracts, and parietal SLF WM tracts in stable MCI. In the parietal GM, parietal CR WM tracts, and parietal SLF WM tracts, we found trend differences between MCI/AD-to-AD and stable NC. Conclusion: Forward magnetization transfer rate is a promising biomarker for AD diagnosis and progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-705
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • magnetization transfer imaging
  • magnetization transfer rate
  • mild cognitive impairment


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