High-resolution MR Elastography (MRE) reveals differences in Subcortical Gray Matter Viscoelasticity between Young and Healthy Older Adults

Lucy Hiscox, Curtis L Johnson, Matthew DJ McGarry, Michael Perrins, Aimee Littlejohn, Edwin van Beek, John Roberts, John Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is an emerging non-invasive imaging technique for measuring viscoelastic tissue properties, proven to be sensitive metrics of neural tissue integrity, as described by shear stiffness, μ and damping ratio, ξ parameters. The study objective was to evaluate global and regional MRE parameter differences between young (19-30 years, n=12) and healthy older adults (66-72 years, n=12), and to assess whether MRE measures provide additive value over volumetric MRI measurements. We investigated the viscoelasticity of the global cerebrum, and six regions of interest (ROIs) including the amygdala, hippocampus, caudate, pallidum, putamen, and thalamus. In older adults, we found a decrease in μ in all ROIs, except for the hippocampus, indicating widespread brain softening; an effect that remained significant after controlling for ROI volume. In contrast, the relative viscous-to-elastic behaviour of the brain ξ, did not differ between age groups, suggesting a preservation of the organisation of the tissue microstructure. These data support the use of MRE as a novel imaging biomarker for characterising age-related differences to neural tissue not captured by volumetric imaging alone.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume65
Early online date6 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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