Stephanie Harmon1, Debra A. Fleischman2, Robert J. Dawe1, Lisa L. Barnes2, Martha C. Morris2, David A. Bennett2, Konstantinos Arfanakis1,2
1Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, United States; 2Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, United States
The purpose of this work was to test the hypothesis that high levels of circulating inflammatory markers in the elderly are associated with changes in microstructural integrity of white matter, as assessed with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Serum samples from 320 non-demented elderly subjects (mean age 81.2 years) were assayed for C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. A sub-sample of subjects from the upper and lower quartiles of inflammation was imaged with DTI. High levels of systemic inflammation in the elderly were associated with significantly lower FA and higher trace in white matter throughout the brain.