White Matter Alteration in Metabolic Syndrome: Diffusion tensor analysis

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OBJECTIVEWe explored the regional pattern of white matter alteration in subjects with metabolic syndrome. We also investigated whether white matter alteration was correlated with BMI.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSSeven middle-aged men with metabolic syndrome and seven without metabolic syndrome underwent diffusion tensor imaging with a 3T magnetic resonance imaging imager. We analyzed the fractional anisotropy (FA) values by using a tract-based spatial statistics technique (whole-brain analysis). We subsequently focused on measuring the mean FA values of the right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) of all subjects by tract-specific analysis (regional brain analysis). We used a Pearson correlation coefficient to evaluate the relationship between BMI and mean FA values of the right IFOF.RESULTSIn the whole-brain analysis, subjects with metabolic syndrome had significantly lower FA values than control subjects in part of the right external capsule (part of the right IFOF), the entire corpus callosum, and part of the deep white matter of the right frontal lobe. In the regional brain analysis, the mean FA value of the right IFOF was 0.41 ± 0.03 for subjects with metabolic syndrome and 0.44 ± 0.05 for control subjects. A significant negative correlation was observed between BMI and FA values in the right IFOF (r = −0.56, P < 0.04).CONCLUSIONSOur results show that microstructural white matter changes occur in patients with metabolic syndrome. FA values may be useful indices of white matter alterations in patients with metabolic syndrome.

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