Objectives: Apathy is a debilitating symptom in cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), the pathophysiology of which remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the neuroanatomic correlates of apathy, using new MRI postprocessing methods based on the identification of cortical sulci, in a large cohort of patients with CADASIL. Methods: A total of 132 patients with genetically confirmed diagnosis were included in this prospective cohort study. Global cognitive performances were assessed by the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS) and disability by the modified Rankin score (mRS). Apathy was defined according to standard criteria. Depth, width, and cortical thickness of 10 large sulci of the frontal lobe in each hemisphere were measured. Logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate the links between apathy and cortical thickness, depth, or width of the different sulci. All models were adjusted for age, gender, level of education, MDRS, mRS, depression, and global brain volume. Results: Complete MRI datasets of high quality were available in 119 patients. Depth of the posterior cingulate sulcus exhibited the strongest association with apathy in fully adjusted models (right: p value = 0.0006; left: p value = 0.004). Depth and width of cortical sulci in mediofrontal and orbitofrontal areas were independently associated with apathy. By contrast, cortical thickness was not. Conclusions: Cortical morphology in mediofrontal and orbitofrontal areas, by contrast to cortical thickness, is strongly and independently associated with apathy. These results suggest that apathy is related to a reduction of cortical surface rather than of cortical thickness secondary to lesion accumulation in CADASIL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology