Effects of type 1 diabetes on gray matter density as measured by voxel-based morphometry

Diabetes. 2006 Feb;55(2):326-33. doi: 10.2337/diabetes.55.02.06.db05-0520.


The effects of type 1 diabetes and key metabolic variables on brain structure are not well understood. Sensitive methods of assessing brain structure, such as voxel-based morphometry (VBM), have not previously been used to investigate central nervous system changes in a diabetic population. Using VBM, we compared type 1 diabetic patients aged 25-40 years with disease duration of 15-25 years and minimal diabetes complications with an age-matched, nondiabetic control group. We investigated whether lower than expected gray matter densities were present, and if so, whether they were associated with glycemic control and history of severe hypoglycemic events. In comparison with control subjects, diabetic patients showed lower density of gray matter in several brain regions. Moreover, in the patient group, higher HbA(1c) levels and severe hypoglycemic events were associated with lower density of gray matter in brain regions responsible for language processing and memory. Our study represents the first comprehensive study of gray matter density changes in type 1 diabetes and suggests that persistent hyperglycemia and acute severe hypoglycemia have an impact on brain structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A