KIBRA polymorphism modulates gray matter volume to influence cognitive ability in the elderly

  • Rui Li
  • Wenyu Wan
  • Juan LiEmail author


Genetic variation in the kidney and brain expressed protein (KIBRA) rs17070145 gene has been linked to episodic memory and cognitive aging; yet, the neural mechanism underlying this association remains to be fully understood. Using the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, this study investigated the effect of KIBRA polymorphism on gray matter volume in 37 healthy, Chinese adults from the older population. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis revealed that KIBRA gene selectivity influences the prefrontal cortex and the parahippocampal cortex. The gray matter volume (GMV) in these structures is significantly lower in KIBRA C-allele carriers than in TT carriers. Moreover, multi-voxel pattern correlation analysis revealed that decreased prefrontal GMV could in turn affect individual cognitive function in C-allele carriers; whereas, TT individuals utilized more integrated gray matter volume in whole-brain voxels to achieve relatively better cognitive function. Overall, the findings suggest that the KIBRA rs17070145 polymorphism modulates gray matter volume, which in turn further influences cognitive function in the elderly.


KIBRA Gray matter volume VBM Aging Prefrontal 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31671157, 31470998, 61673374, 31711530157, 31861133011), the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (Z171100000117006, Z171100008217006), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFC2001701, 2017YFB1401203, 2018YFC2000303,  2016YFC1305904). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Declaration of interest


Ethical approval

The study was approved by the institutional review board of Institute of Psychology of Chinese Academy of Sciences. All participants provided written informed consent according to the institutional guidelines prior to their participation in our experiments. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center on Aging Psychology, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of PsychologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center, Institute of PsychologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of BiophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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