Metabolic compensation and depression in Alzheimer's disease

A. Caroli, M. Lorenzi, C. Geroldi, F. Nobili, B. Paghera, M. Bonetti, M. Cotelli, G. B. Frisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to map metabolic compensation and depression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Methods: Twenty-one healthy elderly subjects and 25 AD patients underwent cerebral MR and FDG-PET imaging. All images were processed with SPM2, and whole-brain gray matter (GM) atrophy and hypometabolism maps were computed. Metabolic compensation and depression were assessed using Biological Parametric Mapping software. Results: GM atrophy and hypometabolism mapped to similar regions, with varying degrees of severity. Significant metabolic compensation was found in the amygdala, while exceeding hypometabolism was mainly located in the posterior cingulate cortex. Conclusion: Metabolic depression can be due to both distant effects of atrophy and to additional hypometabolism-inducing factors, such as amyloid deposition. Conversely, metabolic compensation could reflect spared synaptic plasticity of the surviving neurons. The investigation of the metabolic compensation mechanism could help in the comprehension of the AD underlying pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Atrophy-hypometabolism mismatch
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Voxel-based analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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