Objectives: Diminished function of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) is a typical finding in early Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is hypothesized that in early stage AD, PCC functioning relates to or reflects hippocampal dysfunction or atrophy. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between hippocampus function, volume and structural connectivity, and PCC activation during an episodic memory task-related fMRI study in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Method: MCI patients (n = 27) underwent episodic memory task-related fMRI, 3D-T1w MRI, 2D T2-FLAIR MRI and diffusion tensor imaging. Stepwise linear regression analysis was performed to examine the relationship between PCC activation and hippocampal activation, hippocampal volume and diffusion measures within the cingulum along the hippocampus. Results: We found a significant relationship between PCC and hippocampus activation during successful episodic memory encoding and correct recognition in MCI patients. We found no relationship between the PCC and structural hippocampal predictors. Conclusions: Our results indicate a relationship between PCC and hippocampus activation during episodic memory engagement in MCI. This may suggest that during episodic memory, functional network deterioration is the most important predictor of PCC functioning in MCI. Key Points: • PCC functioning during episodic memory relates to hippocampal functioning in MCI. • PCC functioning during episodic memory does not relate to hippocampal structure in MCI. • Functional network changes are an important predictor of PCC functioning in MCI.
- Diffusion tensor imaging
- Episodic memory task-related functional MRI
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Posterior cingulate cortex