Brain imaging correlates of mild cognitive impairment and early dementia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Groeneveld, O., Reijmer, Y., Heinen, R., Kuijf, H., Koekkoek, P., Janssen, J., Rutten, G., Kappelle, L., Biessels, G., COG-ID study group


NMCD : Nutrition metabolism and cardiovascular diseases 28 (12), p. 1253-1260


Background and aims: The risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia is increased in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We aimed to identify the neuroanatomical correlates of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia in patients with T2DM, using advanced multimodal MRI. Methods and results: Twenty-five patients (≥70 years) with T2DM and MCI (n = 22) or early dementia (n = 3) were included. The reference group consisted of 23 patients with T2DM with intact cognition. All patients underwent a 3 T MRI. Brain volumes and white matter hyperintensity volumes were obtained with automated segmentation methods. White matter connectivity was assessed with diffusion tensor imaging and fiber tractography. Infarcts and microbleeds were rated visually. Compared to patients without cognitive impairment, those with impairment had a lower grey matter volume (effect size: −0.58, p=0.042), especially in the right temporal lobe and subcortical brain regions (effect sizes: −0.45 to −0.91, false discovery rate corrected p < 0.05). White matter volume (effect size: −0.47, p = 0.11) and white matter connectivity (effect size: 0.55, p = 0.054) were also reduced in patients with versus without cognitive impairment, albeit not statistically significant. White matter hyperintensity volumes and occurrence of other vascular lesions did not differ between the two patient groups. Conclusion: In patients with T2DM, grey matter atrophy rather than vascular brain injury appears to be the primary imaging correlate of MCI and early dementia.