Optical measures of cerebral arterial stiffness are associated with white matter signal abnormalities and cognitive performance in normal aging

Chin Hong Tan, Kathy A. Low, Antonio M. Chiarelli, Mark A. Fletcher, Riccardo Navarra, Agnieszka Z. Burzynska, Tania S. Kong, Benjamin Zimmerman, Edward L. Maclin, Bradley P. Sutton, Gabriele Gratton, Monica Fabiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Decline in fluid abilities in normal aging is associated with increased white matter lesions, measured on T1-weighted images as white matter signal abnormalities (WMSAs). WMSAs are particularly evident in hypertensive older adults, suggesting vascular involvement. However, because hypertension is assessed systemically, the specific role of cerebral arterial stiffening in WMSAs has yet to be demonstrated. In 93 cognitively normal adults (aged 18–87 years), we used a novel method to measure cerebral arterial elasticity (pulse relaxation function [PReFx]) with diffuse optical tomography (pulse-DOT) and investigated its association with WMSAs, age, and cognition. PReFx was associated with WMSAs, with older adults with low PReFx showing the greatest WMSA burden. PReFx in brain regions perfused by the middle cerebral artery showed the largest associations with WMSAs and partially mediated the relationship between age and WMSAs. Finally, WMSAs partially mediated the relationship between PReFx and fluid but not crystallized abilities scores. Taken together, these findings suggest that loss of cerebral arterial elasticity is associated with cerebral white matter lesions and age-related cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume84
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Arterial elasticity
  • Cerebrovascular health
  • Diffuse optical tomography (DOT)
  • Fluid abilities
  • Pulse-DOT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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