Decreased vascular pulsatility in alzheimer’s disease dementia measured by transcranial color-coded duplex sonography

Marion Ortner, Christine Hauser, Christoph Schmaderer, Claudia Muggenthaler, Alexander Hapfelmeier, Christian Sorg, Janine Diehl-Schmid, Alexander Kurz, Hans Förstl, Benno Ikenberg, Konstantin Kotliar, Holger Poppert, Timo Grimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Impaired paravascular drainage of β-Amyloid (Aβ) has been proposed as a contributing cause for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), as decreased cerebral blood vessel pulsatility and subsequently reduced propulsion in this pathway could lead to the accumulation and deposition of Aβ in the brain. Therefore, we hypothesized that there is an increased impairment in pulsatility across AD spectrum. Patients and Methods: Using transcranial color-coded duplex sonography (TCCS) the resistance and pulsatility index (RI; PI) of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in healthy controls (HC, n=14) and patients with AD dementia (ADD, n=12) were measured. In a second step, we extended the sample by adding patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stratified by the presence (MCI-AD, n=8) or absence of biomarkers (MCI-nonAD, n=8) indicative for underlying AD pathology, and compared RI and PI across the groups. To control for atherosclerosis as a confounder, we measured the arteriolar-venular-ratio of retinal vessels. Results: Left and right RI (p=0.020; p=0.027) and left PI (p=0.034) differed between HC and ADD controlled for atherosclerosis with AUCs of 0.776, 0.763, and 0.718, respectively. The RI and PI of MCI-AD tended towards ADD, of MCI-nonAD towards HC, respectively. RIs and PIs were associated with disease severity (p=0.010, p=0.023). Conclusion: Our results strengthen the hypothesis that impaired pulsatility could cause impaired amyloid clearance from the brain and thereby might contribute to the development of AD. However, further studies considering other factors possibly influencing amyloid clearance as well as larger sample sizes are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3487-3499
Number of pages13
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer’s dementia
  • Biomarker
  • MCI
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • PI
  • Pulsatility index
  • RI
  • Resistance index


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