White matter changes may precede gray matter loss in elderly with subjective memory impairment

Yun Jeong Hong, Chan Mi Kim, Eun Hye Jang, Jihye Hwang, Jee Hoon Roh, Jae Hong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: A limited number of studies addressed MRI-based neurodegenerative changes in subjective memory impairment (SMI). We investigated changes in white matter (WM) microstructures as well as gray matter (GM) macrostructures in subjects with SMI of high and low risk for progression. Methods: A modeling scale (score range, 0-6) developed for prediction of SMI progression was used to divide SMI subjects (n = 46) into two groups: a high risk of progression (score ≥3; n = 19) and a low risk of progression (score ≤2; n = 27). Cross-sectional comparisons were performed using a region-of-interest-based diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) analysis, cortical thickness analysis, and hippocampal volumetry. Results: The high-risk group had more microstructural disruption shown by lower fractional anisotropy in the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, and parts of frontotemporal lobes. On the other hand, GM macrostructural changes did not differ between the groups and were not associated with modeling scale scores. Conclusion: SMI subjects with a high risk of progression had more WM microstructural disruption than those with a low risk, and the changes were not explained by GM atrophy. Our findings suggest that the degree of microstructural alterations in SMI may be distinctive according to the risk factors and may precede GM atrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C3319; HI14C2746), a grant from the Industrial Core Technology Development Program (10060305) funded by the Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology (KEIT), and grants (2016-0588; 2015-0590; 2015-670; 2014-0783) from the Asan Institute for Life Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Gray matter
  • Microstructure
  • MRI
  • Subjective memory impairment
  • White matter changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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