Objective: To investigate the associations of Pittsburgh compound-B (PiB) uptake in white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and normal appearing white matter (NAWM) with white matter (WM) integrity measured with DTI and cognitive function in cognitively unimpaired older adults. Methods: Cognitively unimpaired older adults from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (n = 537, age 65–95) who underwent both PiB PET and DTI were included. The associations of WM PiB standard uptake value ratio (SUVr) with fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) in the WMH and NAWM were tested after adjusting for age. The associations of PiB SUVr with cognitive function z-scores were tested after adjusting for age and global cortical PiB SUVr. Results: The WMH PiB SUVr was lower than NAWM PiB SUVr (P < 0.001). In the WMH, lower PiB SUVr correlated with lower FA (r = 0.21, P < 0.001), and higher MD (r = −0.31, P < 0.001). In the NAWM, lower PiB SUVr only correlated with higher MD (r = −0.10, P = 0.02). Both in the WMH and NAWM, lower PiB SUVr was associated with lower memory, language, and global cognitive function z-scores after adjusting for age and global cortical PiB SUVr. Interpretation: Reduced PiB uptake in the WMH is associated with a loss of WM integrity and cognitive function after accounting for the global cortical PiB uptake, suggesting that WM PiB uptake may be an early biomarker of WM integrity that precedes cognitive impairment in older adults. When using WM as a reference region in cross-sectional analysis of PiB SUVr, individual variability in WMH volume as well as age should be considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology