Despite the high risk of dementia in older adults with type 2 diabetes, the neuroanatomical correlates of cognitive dysfunction that are particularly affected by diabetes are not well characterized. This study is aimed to examine the structural brain alterations in dysglycemic older adults. Using voxel-based morphometric and tract-based spatial statistics, we examined changes in gray matter volume, white matter volume, and microstructural integrity in older adults with prediabetes and diabetes. We also assessed the correlation of these structural changes with diabetes biomarkers and cognitive performance. A total of 74 non-demented older adults (normal, n = 14; prediabetes, n = 37; and diabetes, n = 23) participated in this study and underwent structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and neuropsychological tests. Subjects with diabetes showed reduced volume of cerebellar gray matter and frontal white matter and diffuse white matter dysintegrity, while those with prediabetes only showed reduced volume of insular gray matter. Atrophic changes in the cerebellum and frontal lobe and frontal white matter dysintegrity were correlated with chronic hyperglycemia and insulin resistance and worse performance in verbal memory recognition and executive function tests. Our findings suggest that chronic hyperglycemia and insulin resistance may alter brain structures forming the fronto-cerebellar network, which may cause cognitive dysfunction in older adults.
- brain structure
- white matter integrity