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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) YKL40 and sTREM2 are astroglial and microglial activity biomarkers, respectively. We assessed whether CSF YKL40 and sTREM2 baseline levels are associated with longitudinal brain volume and diffusivity changes in cognitively unimpaired adults. Two brain MRI scans of 36 participants (57 to 78-years old, 12 male) were acquired in a 2-year interval. Aβ, p-tau, YKL40 and sTREM2 concentrations in CSF were determined at baseline. We calculated gray and white matter volume changes per year maps (ΔGM and ΔWM, respectively) by means of longitudinal pairwise registration, and mean diffusivity variation per year (ΔMD) by subtraction. We checked voxel-wise for associations between ΔGM, ΔWM and ΔMD and baseline CSF level of YKL40 and sTREM2 and verified to what extent these associations were modulated by age (YKL40xAGE and sTREM2xAGE interactions). We found a positive association between ΔGM and YKL40 in the left inferior parietal region and no association between sTREM2 and ΔGM. Negative associations were also observed between ΔGM and YKL40xAGE (bilateral frontal areas, left precuneus and left postcentral and supramarginal gyri) and sTREM2xAGE (bilateral temporal and frontal cortex, putamen and left middle cingulate gyrus). We found negative associations between ΔWM and YKL40xAGE (bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus) and sTREM2xAGE (bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculus, left superior corona radiata, retrolenticular external capsule and forceps minor, among other regions) but none between ΔWM and neither YKL40 nor sTREM2. ΔMD was positively correlated with YKL40 in right orbital region and negatively with sTREM2 in left lingual gyrus and precuneus. In addition, significant associations were found between ΔMD and YKL40xAGE (tail of left hippocampus and surrounding areas and right anterior cingulate gyrus) and sTREM2xAGE (right superior temporal gyrus). Areas showing statistically significant differences were disjoint in analyses involving YKL40 and sTREM2. These results suggest that glial biomarkers exert a relevant and distinct influence in longitudinal brain macro- and microstructural changes in cognitively unimpaired adults, which appears to be modulated by age. In younger subjects increased glial markers (both YKL40 and sTREM2) predict a better outcome, as indicated by a decrease in ΔGM and ΔWM and an increase in ΔMD, whereas in older subjects this association is inverted and higher levels of glial markers are associated with a poorer neuroimaging outcome.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: NeuroImage. Clinical
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