, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 397-403

Correlation between degree of white matter hyperintensities and global gray matter volume decline rate

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Abstract

Introduction

Whether the degree of white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) shows a significant correlation with the rate of global gray matter volume decline over a period following initial baseline measurement remains unclear. The purpose of the present study was to reveal the relationship between the degree of WMHs at baseline and the rate of global gray matter volume decline by applying a longitudinal design.

Methods

Using a 6-year longitudinal design and magnetic resonance images of the brains of 160 healthy individuals aged over 50 years and living in the community, we analyzed the correlation between degree of WMHs using Fazekas scaling at baseline and rate of global gray matter volume decline 6 years later. To obtain the rate of global gray matter volume decline, we calculated global gray matter volume and intracranial volume at baseline and at follow-up using a fully automated method.

Results

The annual percentage change in the gray matter ratio (GMR, APCGMR), in which GMR represents the percentage of gray matter volume in the intracranial volume, showed a significant positive correlation with the degree of deep WMHs and periventricular WMHs at baseline, after adjusting for age, gender, present history of hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that degree of WMHs at baseline predicts the rate of gray matter volume decline 6 years later and that simple visual scaling of WMHs could contribute to predicting the rate of global gray matter volume decline.