Association between increased magnetic susceptibility of deep gray matter nuclei and decreased motor function in healthy adults.
In the human brain, iron is more prevalent in gray matter than in white matter, and deep gray matter structures, particularly the globus pallidus, putamen, caudate nucleus, substantia nigra, red nucleus, and dentate nucleus, exhibit especially high iron content. Abnormally elevated iron levels have been found in various neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, iron overload and related neurodegeneration may also occur during aging, but the functional consequences are not clear. In this study, we explored the correlation between magnetic susceptibility--a surrogate marker of brain iron--of these gray matter structures with behavioral measures of motor and cognitive abilities, in 132 healthy adults aged 40-83 years. Latent variables corresponding to manual dexterity and executive functions were obtained using factor analysis. The factor scores for manual dexterity declined significantly with increasing age. Independent of gender, age, and global cognitive function, increasing magnetic susceptibility in the globus pallidus and red nuclei was associated with decreasing manual dexterity. This finding suggests the potential value of magnetic susceptibility, a non-invasive quantitative imaging marker of iron, for the study of iron-related brain function changes.
Li, W; Langkammer, C; Chou, Y-H; Petrovic, K; Schmidt, R; Song, AW; Madden, DJ; Ropele, S; Liu, C
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