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Exp Aging Res. 1993 Jul-Sep;19(3):225-40.

Leuko-araiosis and cerebral perfusion in normal aging.

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  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.


To clarify the incidence, age relationships and pathogenesis of white matter lesions of unknown origin (leuko-araiosis) detected by neuroimaging among normal elderly volunteers, we measured the severity of leuko-araiosis using computerized tomographic (CT) densitometry among 42 healthy self-supporting men and women of different ages, all with normal neurological and cognitive test performance. Results were correlated with local cerebral perfusion using xenon-contrasted CT. The 42 volunteers, who are followed in this laboratory for studies of normal aging, were divided into two groups in order to determine aging effects by an extremes design. One group consisted of 19 adults below age 60 (M = 53.3, SD = 6.0). The index group comprised 23 individuals all over the age of 60 (M = 71.6, SD = 8.7). Leuko-araiosis around the anterior horns of the lateral ventricles (frontal leuko-araiosis) was more severe (p < .01) among the older group, however, occipital leuko-araiosis did not significantly differ between older and younger groups. Cerebral perfusion in frontal, temporal, and parietal cortex was decreased among older compared with younger volunteers (ps < .001, .01, and .05, respectively). Multiple regression analyses disclosed significant and direct relationships between severity of frontal leuko-araiosis and (a) frontal cortical atrophy and (b) reductions of cerebral perfusion within frontal white matter and caudate nucleus. We conclude that cortical atrophy with hypoperfusion and ischemia of frontal white matter play a part in the pathogenesis of frontal leuko-araiosis associated with normal aging and this may be a predictor for later cognitive declines.

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