Accelerated white matter aging in schizophrenia: role of white matter blood perfusion

Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Oct;35(10):2411-2418. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.02.016. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


Elevated rate of age-related decline in white matter integrity, indexed by fractional anisotropy (FA) from diffusion tensor imaging, was reported in patients with schizophrenia. Its etiology is unknown. We hypothesized that a decline of blood perfusion to the white matter may underlie the accelerated age-related reduction in FA in schizophrenia. Resting white matter perfusion and FA were collected using pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling and high-angular-resolution diffusion tensor imaging, respectively, in 50 schizophrenia patients and 70 controls (age = 18-63 years). Main outcome measures were the diagnosis-by-age interaction on whole-brain white matter perfusion, and FA. Significant age-related decline in brain white matter perfusion and FA were present in both groups. Age-by-diagnosis interaction was significant for FA (p < 0.001) but not white matter perfusion. Age-by-diagnosis interaction for FA values remained significant even after accounting for age-related decline in perfusion. Therefore, we replicated the finding of an increased rate of age-related white matter FA decline in schizophrenia and observed a significant age-related decline in white matter blood perfusion, although the latter did not contribute to the accelerated age-related decline in FA. The results suggest that factors other than reduced perfusion account for the accelerated age-related decline in white matter integrity in schizophrenia.

Keywords: ASL; Aging; Perfusion; Schizophrenia; White matter.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Anisotropy
  • Blood Circulation*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / pathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • White Matter / blood supply*
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult