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Background: We previously showed that overall brain white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV) was associated with accelerated long-term functional decline. However, it was unclear whether WMHV in particular brain regions was more predictive of decline. We hypothesized that WMHV in particular brain regions would be more predictive of functional decline.Methods: In the Northern Manhattan MRI study, participants had brain MRI with axial T1, T2, and fluid attenuated inversion recovery sequences, with baseline interview and examination. Volumetric WMHV distribution across 14 brain regions (brainstem, cerebellum, and bilateral frontal, occipital, temporal, and parietal lobes, and bilateral anterior and posterior periventricular white matter [PVWM]) was determined separately by combining bimodal image intensity distribution and atlas based methods. Participants had annual functional assessments with the Barthel index (BI, range 0-100) over a mean of 7.3 years and were followed for stroke and myocardial infarction (MI). Due to multiple collinear variables, lasso regression was used to select regional WMHV variables, and adjusted generalized estimating equations models estimated associations with baseline BI and change over time.Results: Among 1195 participants, mean age was 71 (SD 9) years, 460 (39%) were male, 802 (67%) had hypertension and 224 (19%) diabetes. Using lasso regularization, only right anterior PVWM was selected, and each SD increase was associated with accelerated functional decline, of -0.95 additional BI points per year (95% CI -1.20, -0.70) in an unadjusted model, -0.92 points per year (95% CI -1.18, -0.67) with baseline covariate adjustment, and -0.87 points per year (95% CI -1.12, -0.62) after adjusting for stroke and MI. This decline was in addition to a mean decline of -1.13 (95% CI -1.29, -0.97), -1.19 (95% CI -1.36, -1.01), and -1.04 (95% CI -1.21, -0.88) BI points per year, respectively.Conclusions: In this large population-based study with long-term repeated measures of function, periventricular WMHV was particularly associated with accelerated functional decline. Periventricular WMHV may have a greater effect on mobility due to dysfunction in descending leg motor tracts.