Association between increased magnetic susceptibility of deep gray matter nuclei and decreased motor function in healthy adults

Wei Li, Christian Langkammer, Ying Hui Chou, Katja Petrovic, Reinhold Schmidt, Allen W. Song, David J. Madden, Stefan Ropele, Chunlei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the human brain, iron is more prevalent in gray matter than in white matter, and deep gray matter structures, particularly the globus pallidus, putamen, caudate nucleus, substantia nigra, red nucleus, and dentate nucleus, exhibit especially high iron content. Abnormally elevated iron levels have been found in various neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, iron overload and related neurodegeneration may also occur during aging, but the functional consequences are not clear. In this study, we explored the correlation between magnetic susceptibility - a surrogate marker of brain iron - of these gray matter structures with behavioral measures of motor and cognitive abilities, in 132 healthy adults aged 40-83. years. Latent variables corresponding to manual dexterity and executive functions were obtained using factor analysis. The factor scores for manual dexterity declined significantly with increasing age. Independent of gender, age, and global cognitive function, increasing magnetic susceptibility in the globus pallidus and red nuclei was associated with decreasing manual dexterity. This finding suggests the potential value of magnetic susceptibility, a non-invasive quantitative imaging marker of iron, for the study of iron-related brain function changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage
Volume105
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 5 2015

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Brain iron
  • Cognitive function
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Motor control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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