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Subjective memory impairment (SMI) is common among older adults. Increasing evidence suggests that SMI is a risk factor for future cognitive decline, as well as for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Medial temporal lobe structures, including the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, are affected in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The current study examined the gray matter (GM) volume and microstructural changes of hippocampal and entorhinal regions in individuals with SMI, compared with elderly control participants without memory complaints.
A total of 45 participants (mean age: 70.31 ± 6.07 years) took part in the study, including 18 participants with SMI and 27 elderly controls without memory complaints. We compared the GM volume and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures in the hippocampal and entorhinal regions between SMI and control groups.
Individuals with SMI had lower entorhinal cortical volumes than control participants, but no differences in hippocampal volume were found between groups. In addition, SMI patients exhibited DTI changes (lower fractional anisotropy (FA) and higher mean diffusivity in SMI) in the hippocampal body and entorhinal white matter compared with controls. Combining entorhinal cortical volume and FA in the hippocampal body improved the accuracy of classification between SMI and control groups.
These findings suggest that the entorhinal region exhibits macrostructural as well as microstructural changes in individuals with SMI, whereas the hippocampus exhibits only microstructural alterations.
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