Increased fMRI activation in the hippocampus is recognized as a signature characteristic of the amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previous work has localized this increased activation to the dentate gyrus/CA3 subregion of the hippocampus and showed a correlation with memory impairments in those patients. Increased hippocampal activation has also been reported in carriers of the ApoE-4 allelic variation independently of mild cognitive impairment although these findings were not localized to a hippocampal subregion. To assess the ApoE-4 contribution to increased hippocampal fMRI activation, patients with aMCI genotyped for ApoE-4 status and healthy age-matched control participants completed a high-resolution fMRI scan while performing a memory task designed to tax hippocampal subregion specific functions. Consistent with previous reports, patients with aMCI showed increased hippocampal activation in the left dentate gyrus/CA3 region of the hippocampus as well as memory task errors attributable to this subregion. However, this increased fMRI activation in the hippocampus did not differ between ApoE-4 carriers and ApoE-4 non-carriers and the proportion of memory errors attributable to dentate gyrus/CA3 function did not differ between ApoE-4 carriers and ApoE-4 non-carriers. These results indicate that increased fMRI activation of the hippocampus observed in patients with aMCI is independent of ApoE-4 status and that ApoE-4 does not contribute to the dysfunctional hippocampal activation or the memory errors attributable to this subregion in these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cognitive Neuroscience