Influence of preeclampsia and late-life hypertension on MRI measures of cortical atrophy

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Abstract

Objective:

Women with a history of preeclampsia are at an increased risk of hypertension and structural brain changes. However, the combined effect of both preeclampsia and late-life hypertension on brain structural changes is not known and was investigated in this study.

Methods:

Participants were identified from the population-based Rochester Epidemiology Project cohort. Four groups of women were recruited and investigated in this study: first, women with a history of normotensive pregnancy who have late-life hypertension (n = 8, median age = 62), second, women with a history of normotensive pregnancy who do not have late-life hypertension (n = 32, median age = 59), third, women with a history of preeclampsia who have late-life hypertension (n = 24, median age = 60), and fourth, women with a history of preeclampsia who do not have late-life hypertension (n = 16, median age = 57). Cerebrovascular disease lesions on MRI, and total gray matter volumes were assessed.

Results:

Total gray matter volumes were smaller in women with a history of preeclampsia and late-life hypertension compared with the other groups. Voxel-based morphometry demonstrated that the volume changes were localized to the posterior brain regions, particularly the occipital lobe gray matter in women with a history of preeclampsia and late-life hypertension.

Conclusion:

Having late-life hypertension superimposed on a history of preeclampsia affects the brain structure differently than having either a history of preeclampsia alone or a history of normotensive pregnancy either with or without late-life hypertension.

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