Brain perfusion SPECT: age- and sex-related effects correlated with voxel-based morphometric findings in healthy adults

Radiology. 2001 Dec;221(3):810-7. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2213010295.


Purpose: To investigate brain perfusion at single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) as a function of age and sex in healthy adult volunteers and to correlate perfusion with gray matter concentration determined by using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).

Materials and methods: Eighty-one healthy volunteers underwent both technetium 99m ethylene cysteine dimer SPECT and three-dimensional magnetization preparation rapid acquisition gradient-echo magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Statistical parametric mapping was used to conduct VBM analysis of the morphologic data, which were compared voxel by voxel with the results of a similar analysis of the perfusion data and more specifically in brain areas showing significant perfusion changes.

Results: VBM data, as compared with perfusion changes, indicated a more symmetric age-related gray matter volume decrease along the Sylvian fissure and in subcortical regions (P < .001). The combination of functional and structural changes indicated a relatively lower functional decrease with aging, as compared with the structural atrophy in the visual, parietal, sensorimotor, and right prefrontal cortices. Significant relative morphologic sex-based differences were found in the cerebellar and temporal cortices, but the comparison did not reveal significant differences between the functional and morphometric data.

Conclusion: Age-related perfusion changes are paralleled by similar more symmetric changes in gray matter concentration, which are more prominent than the perfusion changes in some regions. No sex-based differences between perfusion and gray matter concentration were found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cysteine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • technetium Tc 99m bicisate
  • Cysteine