Microstructural changes and atrophy in brain white matter tracts with aging

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Abstract

Diffusion tensor (DT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tractography was used to investigate microstructural and volumetric abnormalities of the major brain white matter (WM) tracts with aging in 84 healthy subjects. Linear relationships were found between age and mean diffusivity (MD) increase and fractional anisotropy (FA) decrease in all WM tracts, except the right cingulum and bilateral uncinate, where a linear correlation with age was found for FA only. Quadratic model fitted better MD and FA values of several tracts, including the corpus callosum, limbic pathways, and bilateral association, and corticospinal tracts. Age-related MD and FA abnormalities were associated with radial diffusivity increase in all WM tracts, while axial diffusivity changes were characterized by a considerable variation from a tract to another. A linear negative relationship with age was found for the volumes of the left cingulum and fornix, while the quadratic model fitted better age-related volume loss of corpus callosum and right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging may shed light into the complex pathological substrates of WM changes with aging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Atrophy
  • Diffusion tensor MRI
  • Tractography
  • White matter tracts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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