1INSERM, Univ Montpellier, Neuropsychiatry, Epidemiological and Clinical Research, Montpellier, France. 2CHU Montpellier, F-34095, France. 3Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Central Clinical School, Monash University and Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. 4Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
Chronic systemic low-grade inflammation is associated with aging, but little is known on whether age-related inflammation affects brain structure, particularly white matter. The current study tested the hypothesis that in older adults without dementia, higher serum levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) are associated with reduced corpus callosum (CC) areas. French community-dwelling subjects (ESPRIT study) aged 65 and older (N=101) underwent hs-CRP testing and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Multiple linear regression models were carried out. In the unadjusted model, higher hs-CRP level was significantly associated with smaller anterior, mid, and total midsagittal CC areas, but not with the posterior CC area. These associations were independent of demographic characteristics and intracranial volume. After adjustment for body mass index, diabetes, inflammation-related chronic pathologies and white matter lesions (WML), only the associations between hs-CRP level and smaller anterior and total midsagittal CC areas were still significant, although weaker. These findings suggest that low-grade inflammation is associated with CC structural integrity alterations in older adults independently of physical or neuropsychiatric pathologies.
Table 2 Association of serum hs-CRP level with corpus callosum area.
Figure 1. Slopes showing the association between log hs-CRP serum level and the anterior, mid, posterior corpus callosum (CC) areas (unadjusted).
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