Background: In this study, we investigated the effect of hippocampal subfield atrophy
on the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by analyzing baseline magnetic resonance images
(MRI) and images collected over a one-year follow-up period. Previous studies have suggested that
morphological changes to the hippocampus are involved in both normal ageing and the development of AD. The volume of the hippocampus is an authentic imaging biomarker for AD. However,
the diverse relationship of anatomical and complex functional connectivity between different subfields implies that neurodegenerative disease could lead to differences between the atrophy rates of
subfields. Therefore, morphometric measurements at subfield-level could provide stronger biomarkers.
Methods: Hippocampal subfield atrophies are measured using MRI scans, taken at multiple time
points, and shape-based normalization to a Montreal neurological institute (MNI) ICBM 152 nonlinear atlas. Ninety subjects were selected from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
(ADNI), and divided equally into Healthy Controls (HC), AD, and mild cognitive impairment
(MCI) groups. These subjects underwent serial MRI studies at three time-points: baseline, 6
months and 12 months.
Results: We analyzed the subfield-level hippocampal morphometric effects of normal ageing and
AD based on radial distance mapping and volume measurements. We identified a general trend and
observed the largest hippocampal subfield atrophies in the AD group. Atrophy of the bilateral CA1,
CA2- CA4 and subiculum subfields was higher in the case of AD than in MCI and HC. We observed the highest rate of reduction in the total volume of the hippocampus, especially in the CA1
and subiculum regions, in the case of MCI.
Conclusion: Our findings show that hippocampal subfield atrophy varies among the three study