Obesity, Diabetes and Blood Presure independently cortibute to white matter microstructural varibility in the brain
Background and objectives:
Obesity has been associated with increased risk of dementia. Grey and white matter (WM) of
the brain are commonly used as biomarkers for early detection of dementia. However, considering WM, available neuroimaging
studies had mainly small sample size and yielded less conclusive results (Kullmann et al., 2015). Recently, a positive correlation
between obesity and fractional anisotropy (FA) in a middle age group was reported (Birdsill et al. 2017). Furthermore, obesity is
related to many medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension. Diabetes and hypertension were found to be correlated with
brain structures independently (de Leeuw et al., 2002; Weinstein et al., 2015). Yet, studies rarely investigated non-lesion WM microstructure and its association with diabetes and blood pressure.
Therefore we aim to investigate the relation between abdominal obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and WM microstructural variability in a large cohort of community-dwelling healthy adults.
The sample included dementia-free participants
(mean age 55 ± 16 years; 50.7% women) of the LIFE cohort with
brain MRI scans (n = 1255). WM microstructure was measured with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Mean FA was derived from the individual WM skeleton processed by tract-based-spatial-statistic method. Linear regression models were used to assess the relationships between diabetes, blood pressure, waist to hip ratio (WHR) and DTI parameters. Adjustments were made for age, sex, education and Apoe4.
The preliminary result indicated diabetes, systolic blood pressure and WHR were independently associated with
lower FA, and diabetes explained the most variance besides age. Subgroup analysis revealed both systolic blood pressure and WHR
were negatively associated with mean FA in the non-diabetes group (n=1101).
The preliminary result of our study indicates that diabetes accelerated brain aging on directional diffusion of
WM. Abdominal fat and blood pressure were associated with WM variabilities independently from age, sex and diabetes. With subsequent analysis of additional DTI measures, blood parameters,
WM hyperintensity maps and voxel-based microstructural WM “integrity”, we aim to further characterize the associations between obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and WM microstructure.
This will contribute to the existing literature and help to disentangle the underlying mechanism.
Corresponding Author Institution
Rui Zhang, M.Sc.