Cerebral white matter integrity and resting-state functional connectivity in middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes

Hoogenboom WS, Marder TJ, Flores VL, Huisman S, Eaton HP, Schneiderman JS, Bolo NR, Simonson DC, Jacobson AM, Kubicki M, Shenton ME, Musen G

Diabetes 2014 Feb;63(2):728-38

PMID: 24203723


Early detection of brain abnormalities at the preclinical stage can be useful for developing preventive interventions to abate cognitive decline. We examined whether middle-aged type 2 diabetic patients show reduced white matter integrity in fiber tracts important for cognition and whether this abnormality is related to preestablished altered resting-state functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN). Diabetic and nondiabetic participants underwent diffusion tensor imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and cognitive assessment. Multiple diffusion measures were calculated using streamline tractography, and correlations with DMN functional connectivity were determined. Diabetic patients showed lower fractional anisotropy (FA) (a measure of white matter integrity) in the cingulum bundle and uncinate fasciculus. Control subjects showed stronger functional connectivity than patients between the posterior cingulate and both left fusiform and medial frontal gyri. FA of the cingulum bundle was correlated with functional connectivity between the posterior cingulate and medial frontal gyrus for combined groups. Thus, middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes show white matter abnormalities that correlate with disrupted functional connectivity in the DMN, suggesting that common mechanisms may underlie structural and functional connectivity. Detecting brain abnormalities in middle age enables implementation of therapies to slow progression of neuropathology.