Objective: To determine the independent and synergistic effects of amyloid and small vessel disease (SVD) burden on longitudinal cognitive decline in patients with subcortical vascular dementia (SVaD). Methods: A longitudinal cohort study was conducted involving patients from outpatient clinics of 2 tertiary referral centers. Sixty-one patients with SVaD were prospectively recruited and underwent MRI, 11C-Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) PET at baseline, and a 3-year annual neuropsychological follow-up. Effects of PiB positivity and SVD markers (white matter hyperintensities [WMH], lacunes, and microbleeds) on longitudinal cognitive decline were evaluated using generalized estimation equation after controlling for age, sex, education, APOE4 allele, and follow-up interval. Results: When individual neuropsychological tests were used as outcome measures, PiB positivity was associated with faster cognitive decline in attention, visuospatial, visual memory, and global cognition function. Higher WMH burden was associated with faster cognitive decline in attention, visuospatial, visual recognition memory, and semantic/phonemic fluency function, whereas lacunes and microbleeds had no significant effects. When global dementia rating (Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes) was considered as an outcome measure, however, only PiB positivity was associated with faster cognitive decline. Significant interactions between PiB positivity and higher SVD burden were found to affect cognitive decline in semantic word fluency (from WMH burden) and global dementia rating (from microbleed burden). Conclusions: In SVaD patients, amyloid burden, independently or interactively with SVD, contributed to longitudinal cognitive decline. Amyloid deposition was the strongest poor prognostic factor.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Academy of Neurology.