Although various neuropsychiatric symptoms are frequently accompanied with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and pose a substantial burden to both patients and caregivers, their neurobiological underpinnings remain unclear. This study investigated associations between regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and neuropsychiatric symptom domains in early AD. A total of 59 patients with early AD underwent brain technetium-99m hexamethylpropylene amine oxime (99mTc-HMPAO) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were assessed by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory and clustered into the affective, apathy, hyperactivity, and psychotic domains. A voxel-wise multiple regression analysis was performed with four domain scores as independent variables and age, sex, and Mini-Mental State Examination scores as covariates. The affective domain score was negatively correlated with rCBF in the prefrontal cortex, thalamus, and caudate. The apathy domain score showed inverse correlations with rCBF in the prefrontal and pre/postcentral gyri and midbrain. Patients with higher hyperactivity domain scores had increased rCBF in the prefrontal and temporal lobes. The psychotic symptom domain was positively correlated with rCBF in the cuneus and negatively associated with rCBF in the prefrontal, cingulate, and occipital regions and putamen. The score of each neuropsychiatric symptom domain showed the differential correlates of brain perfusion, while altered rCBF in the prefrontal cortex was found in all domains. Although preliminary, our results may suggest common and distinct patterns of rCBF underlying neuropsychiatric symptoms in early AD. Further studies with larger samples and control participants are warranted to confirm these findings.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- neuropsychiatric symptom
- regional cerebral blood flow
- single-photon emission computed tomography
- statistical parametric mapping