Research Paper Volume 11, Issue 22 pp 10000—10015

Mapping the patterns of cortical thickness in single- and multiple-domain amnestic mild cognitive impairment patients: a pilot study

Pan Sun 1, , Wutao Lou 1, , Jianghong Liu 2, , Lin Shi 3, 4, , Kuncheng Li 5, 6, , Defeng Wang 7, , Vincent CT Mok 1, 8, , Peipeng Liang 9, ,

  • 1 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 2 Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 3 Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 4 BrainNow Research Institute, Shenzhen, China
  • 5 Department of Radiology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 6 Beijing Key Lab of MRI and Brain Informatics, Beijing, China
  • 7 School of Instrumentation Science and Opto-electronics Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China
  • 8 Therese Pei Fong Chow Research Centre for Prevention of Dementia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 9 Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, School of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China

received: April 12, 2019 ; accepted: October 5, 2019 ; published: November 22, 2019 ;
How to Cite

Copyright © 2019 Sun et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is considered as a transitional stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Structural brain difference has shown the potential in cognitive related diagnosis, however cortical thickness patterns transferred from aMCI to AD, especially in the subtypes of aMCI, is still unclear. In this study, we investigated the cortical thickness discrepancies among AD, aMCI and normal control (NC) entities, especially for two subtypes of aMCI - multiple-domain aMCI (aMCI-m) and single-domain aMCI (aMCI-s). Both region of interest (ROI)-based and vertex-based statistical strategies were performed for group-level cortical thickness comparison. Spearman correlation was utilized to identify the correlation between cortical thickness and clinical neuropsychological scores. The result demonstrated that there was a significant cortical thickness decreasing tendency in fusiform gyrus from NC to aMCI-s to aMCI-m to finally AD in both left and right hemispheres. Meanwhile, the two subtypes of aMCI showed cortical thickness difference in middle temporal gyrus in left hemisphere. Spearman correlation indicated that neuropsychological scores had significant correlations with entorhinal, inferior temporal and middle temporal gyrus. The findings suggested that cortical thickness might serve as a potential imaging biomarker for the differential diagnosis of cognitive impairment.


AD: Alzheimer’s disease; NC: normal control; aMCI: amnestic mild cognitive impairment; aMCI-m: multiple-domain aMCI; aMCI-s: single-domain aMCI; ROI: region of interest; FA: fractional anisotropy; DTI: diffusion tensor imaging; MD: mean diffusivity; PET: positron emission tomography; AVLT: Auditory-Verbal Learning Test score; MMSE: Mini Mental Status Examination score; MoCA: Montreal Cognitive Assessment score; TMT: Trail-Making Test score; BNT: Boston Naming Test score; MPRAGE: magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo; WM: white matter; GM: grey matter; MTL: medial temporal lobe; WMH: white matter hyperintensity; QDEC: query design estimate contrast; GLM: generalized linear model.