Background: Atrophy of the corpus callosum in the absence of primary white matter degeneration reflects loss of intracortical projecting neocortical pyramidal neurons in Alzheimer disease (AD). Objectives: To determine individual rates of atrophy progression of the corpus callosum in patients with AD and to correlate rates of atrophy progression with clinical disease severity and subcortical disease. Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging-derived measurements of corpus callosum size were studied longitudinally in 21 patients clinically diagnosed as having AD (mean observation time, 17.0 ± 8.5 months) and 10 age-and sex-matched healthy controls (mean observation time, 24.1 ± 6.8 months). Results: Corpus callosum size was significantly reduced in AD patients at baseline. Annual rates of atrophy of total corpus callosum, splenium, and rostrum were significantly larger in AD patients (-7.7%, -12.1%, and -7.3%, respectively) than in controls (-0.9%, -1.5%, and 0.6%, respectively). Rates of atrophy of the corpus callosum splenium were correlated with progression of dementia severity in AD patients (p = 0.52, P<.02). The load of subcortical lesions at baseline (P<.05) predicted rate of anterior corpus callosum atrophy in healthy controls. Rates of atrophy of corpus callosum areas were independent of white matter hyperintensity load in patients with AD. Conclusions: Measurement of corpus callosum size allows in vivo mapping of neocortical neurodegeneration in AD over a wide range of clinical dementia severities and may be used as a surrogate marker for evaluation of drug efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology