Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Renal Function Are Associated With Brain Alterations and Poststroke Cognitive Decline

Stroke. 2017 Sep;48(9):2368-2374. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.017709. Epub 2017 Aug 11.


Background and purpose: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with diseases of the brain, kidney, and vasculature. However, the relationship between T2DM, chronic kidney disease, brain alterations, and cognitive function after stroke is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the inter-relationship between T2DM, impaired renal function, brain pathology on imaging, and cognitive decline in a longitudinal poststroke cohort.

Methods: The TABASCO (Tel Aviv brain acute stroke cohort) is a prospective cohort of stroke/transient ischemic attack survivors. The volume and white matter integrity, ischemic lesions, and brain and hippocampal volumes were measured at baseline using 3-T MRI. Cognitive tests were performed on 507 patients, who were diagnosed as having mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or being cognitively intact after 24 months.

Results: At baseline, T2DM and impaired renal function (estimated creatinine clearance [eCCl] <60 mL/min) were associated with smaller brain and hippocampal volumes, reduced cortical thickness, and worse white matter microstructural integrity. Two years later, both T2DM and eCCl <60 mL/min were associated with poorer cognitive scores, and 19.7% of the participants developed cognitive decline (mild cognitive impairment or dementia). Multiple analysis, controlling for age, sex, education, and apolipoprotein E4, showed a significant association of both T2DM and eCCl <60 mL/min with cognitive decline. Having both conditions doubled the risk compared with patients with T2DM or eCCl <60 mL/min alone and almost quadrupled the risk compared with patients without either abnormality.

Conclusions: T2DM and impaired renal function are independently associated with abnormal brain structure, as well as poorer performance in cognitive tests, 2 years after stroke. The presence of both conditions quadruples the risk for cognitive decline. T2DM and lower eCCl have an independent and additive effect on brain atrophy and the risk of cognitive decline.

Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01926691.

Keywords: cognitive dysfunction; dementia; diabetes mellitus; ischemic attack, transient; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / diagnostic imaging
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Organ Size
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • White Matter / pathology

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01926691