Circulating metabolites are associated with brain atrophy and white matter hyperintensities

Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Feb;17(2):205-214. doi: 10.1002/alz.12180. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Abstract

Introduction: Our aim was to study whether systemic metabolites are associated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of brain and hippocampal atrophy and white matter hyperintensities (WMH).

Methods: We studied associations of 143 plasma-based metabolites with MRI measures of brain and hippocampal atrophy and WMH in three independent cohorts (n = 3962). We meta-analyzed the results of linear regression analyses to determine the association of metabolites with MRI measures.

Results: Higher glucose levels and lower levels of three small high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles were associated with brain atrophy. Higher glucose levels were associated with WMH.

Discussion: Glucose levels were associated with brain atrophy and WMH, and small HDL particle levels were associated with brain atrophy. Circulating metabolites may aid in developing future intervention trials.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cholesterol; glucose; lipids; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); metabolism.