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Thalamic Fractional Anisotropy Predicts Accrual of Cerebral White Matter Damage in Older Subjects with Small-Vessel Disease

Institution:
1Center for Neurological Imaging, Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
2Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Hartford Hospital/IOL, Hartford, CT, USA.
3Division of Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology, Calhoun Cardiology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA.
4Department of Neurology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA.
Publication Date:
Aug-2014
Journal:
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab
Volume Number:
34
Issue Number:
8
Pages:
1321-7
Citation:
J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Aug;34(8):1321-7.
PubMed ID:
24824915
PMCID:
PMC4126092
Keywords:
aging, deep gray matter, diffusion tensor imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, small-vessel disease, white matter hyperintensities
Appears in Collections:
NAC, CNI, SLICER, SPL
Sponsors:
M01 RR006192/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P41 RR013218/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States
R01 AG022092/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Cavallari M., Moscufo N., Meier D., Skudlarski P., Pearlson G.D., White W.B., Wolfson L., Guttmann C.R.G. Thalamic Fractional Anisotropy Predicts Accrual of Cerebral White Matter Damage in Older Subjects with Small-Vessel Disease. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Aug;34(8):1321-7. PMID: 24824915. PMCID: PMC4126092.
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White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and lacunes are magnetic resonance imaging hallmarks of cerebral small-vessel disease, which increase the risk of stroke, cognitive, and mobility impairment. Although most studies of cerebral small-vessel disease have focused on white matter abnormalities, the gray matter (GM) is also affected, as evidenced by frequently observed lacunes in subcortical GM. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to subtle neurodegenerative changes in deep GM structures. We explored the relationship between baseline DTI characteristics of the thalamus, caudate, and putamen, and the volume and subsequent accrual of WMHs over a 4-year period in 56 community-dwelling older (⩾75 years) individuals. Baseline thalamic fractional anisotropy (FA) was an independent predictor of WMH accrual. WMH accrual also correlated with baseline lacune count and baseline WMH volume, the latter showing the strongest predictive power, explaining 27.3% of the variance. The addition of baseline thalamic FA in multivariate modeling increased this value by 70%, which explains 46.5% of the variance in WMH accrual rate. Thalamic FA might serve as a novel predictor of cerebral small-vessel disease progression in clinical settings and trials. Furthermore, our findings point to the possibility of a causal relationship between thalamic damage and the accrual of WMHs.

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