MRI‐assessed locus coeruleus integrity is heritable and associated with multiple cognitive domains, mild cognitive impairment, and daytime dysfunction Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractIntroductionThe locus coeruleus (LC) undergoes extensive neurodegeneration in early Alzheimer's disease (AD). The LC is implicated in regulating the sleep–wake cycle, modulating cognitive function, and AD progression.MethodsParticipants were 481 men (ages 62 to 71.7) from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging. LC structural integrity was indexed by neuromelanin‐sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast‐to‐noise ratio (LCCNR). We examined LCCNR, cognition, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and daytime dysfunction.ResultsHeritability of LCCNR was .48. Participants with aMCI showed greater daytime dysfunction. Lower LCCNR was associated with poorer episodic memory, general verbal fluency, semantic fluency, and processing speed, as well as increased odds of aMCI and greater daytime dysfunction.DiscussionReduced LC integrity is associated with widespread differences across cognitive domains, daytime sleep‐related dysfunction, and risk for aMCI. These findings in late‐middle‐aged adults highlight the potential of MRI‐based measures of LC integrity in early identification of AD risk.

publication date

  • June 1, 2021

has restriction

  • hybrid

Date in CU Experts

  • April 13, 2023 8:34 AM

Full Author List

  • Elman JA; Puckett OK; Beck A; Fennema‐Notestine C; Cross LK; Dale AM; Eglit GML; Eyler LT; Gillespie NA; Granholm EL

author count

  • 30

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1552-5260

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-5279

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1017

end page

  • 1025


  • 17


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