Longitudinal trajectories of basal forebrain volume in normal aging and Alzheimer's disease

Ying Xia, Paul Maruff, Vincent Doré, Pierrick Bourgeat, Simon M. Laws, Christopher Fowler, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Ralph N. Martins, Victor L. Villemagne, Christopher C. Rowe, Colin L. Masters, Elizabeth J. Coulson, Jurgen Fripp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dysfunction of the cholinergic basal forebrain (BF) system and amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition are early pathological features in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, their association in early AD is not well-established. This study investigated the nature and magnitude of volume loss in the BF, over an extended period, in 516 older adults who completed Aβ-PET and serial magnetic resonance imaging scans. Individuals were grouped at baseline according to the presence of cognitive impairment (CU, CI) and Aβ status (Aβ−, Aβ+). Longitudinal volumetric changes in the BF and hippocampus were assessed across groups. The results indicated that high Aβ levels correlated with faster volume loss in the BF and hippocampus, and the effect of Aβ varied within BF subregions. Compared to CU Aβ+ individuals, Aβ-related loss among CI Aβ+ adults was much greater in the predominantly cholinergic subregion of Ch4p, whereas no difference was observed for the Ch1/Ch2 region. The findings support early and substantial vulnerability of the BF and further reveal distinctive degeneration of BF subregions during early AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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