Studying APOE ϵ4 Allele Dose Effects with a Univariate Morphometry Biomarker

Gang Wang, Wenju Zhou, Deping Kong, Zongshuai Qu, Maowen Ba, Jinguang Hao, Tao Yao, Qunxi Dong, Yi Su, Eric M. Reiman, Richard J. Caselli, Kewei Chen, Yalin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: A univariate neurodegeneration biomarker (UNB) based on MRI with strong statistical discrimination power would be highly desirable for studying hippocampal surface morphological changes associated with APOE ϵ4 genetic risk for AD in the cognitively unimpaired (CU) population. However, existing UNB work either fails to model large group variances or does not capture AD induced changes. Objective: We proposed a subspace decomposition method capable of exploiting a UNB to represent the hippocampal morphological changes related to the APOE ϵ4 dose effects among the longitudinal APOE ϵ4 homozygotes (HM, N = 30), heterozygotes (HT, N = 49) and non-carriers (NC, N = 61). Methods: Rank minimization mechanism combined with sparse constraint considering the local continuity of the hippocampal atrophy regions is used to extract group common structures. Based on the group common structures of amyloid-β (Aβ) positive AD patients and Aβ negative CU subjects, we identified the regions-of-interest (ROI), which reflect significant morphometry changes caused by the AD development. Then univariate morphometry index (UMI) is constructed from these ROIs. Results: The proposed UMI demonstrates a more substantial statistical discrimination power to distinguish the longitudinal groups with different APOE ϵ4 genotypes than the hippocampal volume measurements. And different APOE ϵ4 allele load affects the shrinkage rate of the hippocampus, i.e., HM genotype will cause the largest atrophy rate, followed by HT, and the smallest is NC. Conclusion: The UMIs may capture the APOE ϵ4 risk allele-induced brain morphometry abnormalities and reveal the dose effects of APOE ϵ4 on the hippocampal morphology in cognitively normal individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1250
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Effect size
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • permutation t-test
  • radial distance
  • regions-of-interest
  • subspace decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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