Atrophy of presubiculum and subiculum is the earliest hippocampal anatomical marker of Alzheimer's disease

Giovanni A. Carlesimo, Fabrizio Piras, Maria Donata Orfei, Mariangela Iorio, Carlo Caltagirone, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is no consensus about which hippocampal subfields become atrophic earliest in the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methods: Thirty AD patients, 41 mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients, and 38 healthy controls (HCs) underwent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (with an automated segmentation protocol for the volumetric analysis of hippocampal subfields) and a test of immediate and delayed recall of a 15-word list. Results: The volumes of the presubiculum and subiculum presented the most remarkable reduction in the patient's groups. In the MCI group, only the volumes of presubiculum and subiculum predicted performance on the memory tests. In AD patients, the volumes of all hippocampal subfields (with the notable exception of the CA1) predicted memory scores. Conclusions: Our data point to a prevalent atrophy of the presubicular-subicular complex from the early phases of AD. This finding is consistent with neuropathological observations in AD patients and probably reflects the severe degeneration of the perforant pathway while penetrating the hippocampus through the subicular field in its course from the entorhinal cortex to the dentate gyrus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain atrophy
  • Memory
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Structural MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Neurology


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