Late-life brain perfusion after prenatal famine exposure

Susanne R. de Rooij, Henri J. M. M. Mutsaerts, Jan Petr, Iris Asllani, Matthan W. A. Caan, Paul Groot, Aart J. Nederveen, Matthias Schwab, Tessa J. Roseboom

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Early nutritional deprivation may cause irreversible damage to the brain and seems to affect cognitive function in older age. We investigated whether prenatal undernutrition was associated with brain perfusion differences in older age. We acquired Arterial spin labeling scans in 118 Dutch famine birth cohort members. Using linear regression analyses, cerebral blood flow was compared between exposed and unexposed groups in gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM), perfusion territories, the neurodegeneration-related regions anterior and posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus. Furthermore, we compared the GM/WM ratio and the spatial coefficient of variation as a proxy of overall cerebrovascular health. The WM arterial spin labeling signal and the GM/WM ratio were significantly lower and higher, respectively, among exposed participants (−2.5 mL/100 g/min [95% CI: −4.3 to −0.8; p = 0.01] and 0.48 [0.19 to 0.76; p = 0.002], respectively). Exposed men had lower cerebral blood flow in anterior and posterior cingulate cortices (−8.0 mL/100 g/min [−15.1 to −0.9; p = 0.03]; −11.4 mL/100 g/min [−19.6 to −3.2; p = 0.02]) and higher spatial coefficient of variation (0.05 [0.00 to 0.09; p = 0.05]). The latter seemed largely mediated by higher 2h-glucose levels at age 50. Our findings suggest that prenatal undernutrition affects brain perfusion parameters providing further evidence for life-long effects of undernutrition during early brain development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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