Evidence of cerebral hemodynamic dysregulation in middle-aged APOE ε4 carriers: The PREVENT-Dementia study.


Accumulating evidence suggests vascular dysregulation in preclinical Alzheimer's disease. In this study, cerebral hemodynamics and their coupling with cognition in middle-aged apolipoprotein ε4 carriers (APOEε4+) were investigated. Longitudinal 3 T T1-weighted and arterial spin labelling MRI data from 158 participants (40-59 years old) in the PREVENT-Dementia study were analysed (125 two-year follow-up). Cognition was evaluated using the COGNITO battery. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebrovascular resistance index (CVRi) were quantified for the flow territories of the anterior, middle and posterior cerebral arteries. CBF was corrected for underlying atrophy and individual hematocrit. Hemodynamic measures were the dependent variables in linear regression models, with age, sex, years of education and APOEε4 carriership as predictors. Further analyses were conducted with cognitive outcomes as dependent variables, using the same model as before with additional APOEε4 × hemodynamics interactions. At baseline, APOEε4+ showed increased CBF and decreased CVRi compared to non-carriers in the anterior and middle cerebral arteries, suggestive of potential vasodilation. Hemodynamic changes were similar between groups. Interaction analysis revealed positive associations between CBF changes and performance changes in delayed recall (for APOEε4 non-carriers) and verbal fluency (for APOEε4 carriers) cognitive tests. These observations are consistent with neurovascular dysregulation in middle-aged APOEε4+.