Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (2019-07-01)

Cerebral Blood Flow in Community-Based Older Twins Is Moderately Heritable: An Arterial Spin Labeling Perfusion Imaging Study

  • Jiyang Jiang,
  • Anbupalam Thalamuthu,
  • Anbupalam Thalamuthu,
  • Forrest C. Koch,
  • Tao Liu,
  • Tao Liu,
  • Qun Xu,
  • Qun Xu,
  • Julian N. Trollor,
  • Julian N. Trollor,
  • Julian N. Trollor,
  • David Ames,
  • Margaret J. Wright,
  • Margaret J. Wright,
  • Vibeke Catts,
  • Perminder S. Sachdev,
  • Perminder S. Sachdev,
  • Wei Wen,
  • Wei Wen

DOI
https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00169
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11

Abstract

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Adequate cerebral blood flow (CBF) is necessary to maintain brain metabolism and function. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an emerging MRI technique offering a non-invasive and reliable quantification of CBF. The genetic basis of CBF has not been well documented, and one approach to investigate this is to examine its heritability. The current study aimed to examine the heritability of CBF using ASL data from a cohort of community-dwelling older twins (41 monozygotic (MZ) and 25 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs; age range, 65–93 years; 56.4% female). The results showed that the cortex had higher CBF than subcortical gray matter (GM) regions, and CBF in the GM regions of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) territory was lower than that of the middle (MCA) and posterior (PCA) cerebral arteries. After accounting for the effects of age, sex and scanner, moderate heritability was identified for global CBF (h2 = 0.611; 95% CI = 0.380–0.761), as well as for cortical and subcortical GM and the GM in the major arterial territories (h2 = 0.500–0.612). Strong genetic correlations (GCs) were found between CBF in subcortical and cortical GM regions, as well as among the three arterial territories (ACA, MCA, PCA), suggesting a largely convergent genetic control for the CBF in brain GM. The moderate heritability of CBF warrants future investigations to uncover the genetic variants and genes that regulate CBF.

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