Changes in hippocampal volume during a preceding 10-year period do not correlate with cognitive performance and hippocampal blood‒brain barrier permeability in cognitively normal late-middle-aged men
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Hippocampal blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability may increase in normal healthy ageing and contribute to neurodegenerative disease. To examine this hypothesis, we investigated the correlation between blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, regional brain volume, memory functions and health and lifestyle factors in The Metropolit 1953 Danish Male Birth Cohort. We used dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) with a gadolinium-based contrast agent to assess BBB permeability in 77 participants in the cohort. BBB permeability was measured as K i values in the hippocampus, thalamus and white matter. Over a 10-year period, we observed progressive atrophy of both the left and right hippocampus (p = 0.001). There was no significant correlation between current BBB permeability and hippocampal volume, prior atrophy or cognition. The hippocampus volume ratio was associated with better visual and verbal memory scores (p < 0.01). Regional BBB differences revealed higher K i values in the hippocampus and white matter than in the thalamus (p < 0.001). Participants diagnosed with type II diabetes had significantly higher BBB permeability in the white matter (p = 0.015) and thalamus (p = 0.016), which was associated with a higher Fazekas score (p = 0.024). We do not find evidence that BBB integrity is correlated with age-related hippocampal atrophy or cognitive functions. The association between diabetes, white matter hyperintensities and increased BBB permeability is consistent with the idea that cerebrovascular disease compromises BBB integrity. Our findings suggest that the hippocampus is particularly prone to age-related atrophy, which may explain some of the cognitive changes that accompany older age, but this prior atrophy is not correlated with current BBB permeability.
|Number of pages
|Published - 2023
© 2022. The Author(s).
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