Aging in the CNS: comparison of gray/white matter volume and diffusion tensor data

Neurobiol Aging. 2008 Jan;29(1):102-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.09.003. Epub 2006 Oct 4.


This study investigated the global and regional effects of aging on brain volume, mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA) in 73 normal female subjects using voxel-based analysis. On a global scale, gray matter volume and FA were negatively correlated, whereas MD was positively correlated with age. Voxel-wise analyses showed brain volume and FA were negatively correlated predominantly in anterior structures, whereas MD was positively correlated in the cortical gray matter and periventricular white matter. Volume preservation was observed in the cingulate gyrus and subjacent white matter. FA increase was observed in the putamen. Voxel-based direct comparisons of volume and diffusion properties showed FA was more strongly negatively correlated in the fronto-temporal white matter, compared with volume and MD. Stronger positive correlation of MD was observed in the thalamus, caudate nucleus, and midbrain and stronger negative correlation of brain volume was observed in the frontal lobe and basal ganglia, compared with the other. These results indicate that diffusion properties and brain volume are complementary markers to the effects of aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Central Nervous System / anatomy & histology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways
  • Reference Values
  • Statistics as Topic