Prediction of conversion from amnestic mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease based on the brain structural connectome

Yu Sun, Qiuhui Bi, Xiaoni Wang, Xiaochen Hu, Huijie Li, Xiaobo Li, Ting Ma, Jie Lu, Piu Chan, Ni Shu, Ying Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Early prediction of disease progression in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is important for early diagnosis and intervention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previous brain network studies have suggested topological disruptions of the brain connectome in aMCI patients. However, whether brain connectome markers at baseline can predict longitudinal conversion from aMCI to AD remains largely unknown. Methods: In this study, 52 patients with aMCI and 26 demographically matched healthy controls from a longitudinal cohort were evaluated. During 2 years of follow-up, 26 patients with aMCI were retrospectively classified as aMCI converters and 26 patients remained stable as aMCI non-converters based on whether they were subsequently diagnosed with AD. For each participant, diffusion tensor imaging at baseline and deterministic tractography were used to map the whole-brain white matter structural connectome. Graph theoretical analysis was applied to investigate the convergent and divergent connectivity patterns of structural connectome between aMCI converters and non-converters. Results: Disrupted topological organization of the brain structural connectome were identified in both aMCI converters and non-converters. More severe disruptions of structural connectivity in aMCI converters compared with non-converters were found, especially in the default-mode network regions and connections. Finally, a support vector machine-based classification demonstrated the good discriminative ability of structural connectivity in differentiating aMCI patients from controls with an accuracy of 98%, and in discriminating converters from non-converters with an accuracy of 81%. Conclusion: Our study provides potential structural connectome/connectivity-based biomarkers for predicting disease progression in aMCI, which is important for the early diagnosis of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1178
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Brain network
  • Conversion
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Graph theory
  • Machine learning
  • Mild cognitive impairment


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