The following is a summary of the “Association of homocysteine-related subcortical brain atrophy with white matter lesion volume and cognition in healthy aging,” published in the January 2023 issue of Neurobiology of Aging by Song, et al.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive impairment have been linked to the vascular risk factor homocysteine (Hcy). In this study, we used a multivariate Scaled Subprofile Model (SSM) analysis to look for a network pattern in structural neuroimaging that reflects the regionally distributed association of plasma Hcy with subcortical grey matter (SGM) volumes and its relation to other health risk factors and cognition in 160 healthy older adults (ages 50 to 89).
The caudate, putamen, and pallidum showed relative volume increases, while the hippocampi and nucleus accumbens shrank bilaterally, indicating an SSM Hcy-SGM pattern. White matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume, age, and male sex were positively correlated with Hcy-SGM pattern expression, but other vascular and AD-related risk factors were not. Mediation analyses showed that age was a predictor of WMH volume, which was a predictor of Hcy-SGM pattern expression and cognitive processing speed performance.
These results point to a possible connection between vascular health and cognitive dysfunction in healthy older adults, suggesting that the multivariate SSM Hcy-SGM pattern is indicative of cognitive aging.