OBJECTIVE: The level of hippocampal atrophy in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is typically less than that observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, it is not known how the cognitive phenotype of DLB is influenced by hippocampal atrophy or the atrophy of adjacent medial temporal lobe structures.
METHODS: Dementia with Lewy bodies (n = 65), AD (n = 76) and control (n = 63) participants underwent 3T magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive Cambridge Cognitive Examination and Mini-Mental State Examination (CAMCOG and MMSE) assessments. Hippocampal volume, and parahippocampal, entorhinal and temporal pole cortical thickness, was compared between groups. Regression models were used to investigate whether hippocampal volume and cortical thickness associated with global cognition and cognitive subdomains.
RESULTS: Dementia with Lewy bodies, AD and control participants showed significantly different hippocampal, parahippocampal and entorhinal cortical thinning, where atrophy was greatest in AD and intermediate in DLB. Temporal pole thickness was reduced in DLB and AD compared with control participants. In DLB, but not AD, hippocampal volume associated with total CAMCOG, CAMCOG memory and MMSE scores. In DLB, parahippocampal, entorhinal and temporal pole thickness associated with total CAMCOG and CAMCOG memory scores, parahippocampal thickness associated with MMSE scores, and entorhinal thickness associated with CAMCOG executive function scores.
CONCLUSIONS: In this large sample, these results are in agreement with other studies indicating that hippocampal atrophy is less severe in DLB than AD. Hippocampal atrophy and medial temporal lobe cortical thickness were associated with the severity of cognitive symptoms, suggesting that atrophy in these structures, as a potential proxy of AD pathology, may partly mediate specific DLB cognitive symptoms.