The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of combined structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures and plasma levels of vitamin E forms, including all eight natural vitamin E congeners (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols) and markers of vitamin E oxidative/nitrosative damage, in differentiating individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from cognitively intact control (CTL) subjects.
Overall, 81 patients with AD, 86 with MCI and 86 CTL individuals were enrolled from the longitudinal multicentre AddNeuroMed study. MRI and plasma vitamin E data were acquired at baseline. MRI scans were analysed using Freesurfer, an automated segmentation scheme which generates regional volume and cortical thickness measures. Orthogonal partial least squares to latent structures (OPLS), a multivariate data analysis technique, was used to analyse MRI and vitamin E measures in relation to AD and MCI diagnosis.
The joint evaluation of MRI and plasma vitamin E measures enhanced the accuracy of differentiating individuals with AD and MCI from CTL subjects: 98.2% (sensitivity 98.8%, specificity 97.7%) for AD versus CTL, and 90.7% (sensitivity 91.8%, specificity 89.5%) for MCI versus CTL. This combination of measures also identified 85% of individuals with MCI who converted to clinical AD at follow-up after 1 year.
Plasma levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols together with automated MRI measures can help to differentiate AD and MCI patients from CTL subjects, and to prospectively predict MCI conversion into AD. Our results suggest the potential role of nutritional biomarkers detected in plasma-tocopherols and tocotrienols-as indirect indicators of AD pathology, and the utility of a multimodality approach.