Nov 19, 2019

Adult brain aging investigated using BMC-mcDESPOT-based myelin water fraction imaging

Neurobiology of Aging
Mustapha BouhraraRichard G Spencer


The relationship between regional brain myelination and aging has been the subject of intense study, with magnetic resonance imaging perhaps the most effective modality for elucidating this. However, most of these studies have used nonspecific methods to probe myelin content, including diffusion tensor imaging, magnetization transfer ratio, and relaxation times. In the present study, we used the BMC-mcDESPOT analysis, a direct and specific method for imaging of myelin water fraction (MWF), a surrogate of myelin content. We investigated age-related differences in MWF in several brain regions in a large cohort of cognitively unimpaired participants, spanning a wide age range. Our results indicate a quadratic, inverted U-shape, relationship between MWF and age in all brain regions investigated, suggesting that myelination continues until middle age followed by decreases at older ages. We also observed that these age-related differences vary across different brain regions, as expected. Our results provide evidence for nonlinear associations between age and myelin in a large sample of well-characterized adults, using a direct myelin content imaging method.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Brain Diseases
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Analysis of Substances
Myelin Proteins
Diffusion Tensor Imaging

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