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Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Mar;11(3):321-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Sep 10.

Tract-specific white matter degeneration in aging: the Rotterdam Study.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Medical informatics, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
2
Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Neurology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
3
Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
4
Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
5
Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Medical informatics, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Imaging Science and Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands.
6
Department of Radiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address: m.vernooij@erasmusmc.nl.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Loss of brain white matter microstructure is presumed to be an early sign of neurodegenerative disease. Yet, little is known on microstructural changes of various white matter tracts with normal aging.

METHODS:

In 4532 nondemented elderly persons, we studied age-related changes in tract-specific diffusion characteristics for 25 tracts using probabilistic tractography. We studied how diffusion differs across tracts with aging, whether this depends on macrostructural white matter changes, and whether cardiovascular risk factors affect microstructure.

RESULTS:

With increasing age, loss of microstructural organization occurred in association, commissural and limbic tracts. White matter lesions and atrophy each partially explained this loss. We observed worse microstructure with severe hypertension, current smoking and diabetes mellitus, independent from age and macrostructural white matter changes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Microstructure of white matter tracts changes with age, and may mark neurodegeneration more sensitively than white matter lesion load and atrophy. Cardiovascular factors relate to loss in microstructural organization.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Atrophy; DTI; Microstructure; Tractography; WML; White matter

PMID:
25217294
DOI:
10.1016/j.jalz.2014.06.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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