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Amygdala atrophy is prominent in early Alzheimer's disease and relates to symptom severity
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    Despite numerous studies on the role of medial temporal lobe structures in Alzheimer's disease (AD), the magnitude and clinical significance of amygdala atrophy have been relatively sparsely investigated. In this study, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the level of amygdala atrophy to that of the hippocampus in very mild and mild AD subjects in two large samples (Sample 1 n=90; Sample 2 n=174). Using a series of linear regression analyses, we investigated whether amygdala atrophy is related to global cognitive functioning (Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes: CDR-SB; Mini Mental State Examination: MMSE) and neuropsychiatric status. Results indicated that amygdala atrophy was comparable to hippocampal atrophy in both samples. MMSE and CDR-SB were strongly related to amygdala atrophy, with amygdala atrophy predicting MMSE scores as well as hippocampal atrophy, but predicting CDR-SB scores less robustly. Amygdala atrophy was related to aberrant motor behavior, with potential relationships to anxiety and irritability. These results suggest that the magnitude of amygdala atrophy is comparable to that of the hippocampus in the earliest clinical stages of AD, and is related to global illness severity. There also appear to be specific relationships between the level of amygdala atrophy and neuropsychiatric symptoms that deserve further investigation.

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    DP10D003312/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    K01 AG030514/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P01 AG003991/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P01 AG003991-29/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P01-AG003991/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P30 AG010129/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50 AG005134/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50 AG005134-29/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50 AG005681/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50 AG005681-29/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50-AG05134/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    P50-AG05681/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R01 AG029411/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R01 AG029411-05/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R01-AG029411/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R01-AG030311/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R01-MH56584/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    R21 AG029840/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R21 AG029840-02/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R21-AG029840/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U01 AG024904/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U01 AG024904/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U01 AG024904-07/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U24 RR021382/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    U24 RR021382-05/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
    U24-RR021382/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
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