Differential associations of diastolic and systolic pressures with cerebral measures in older individuals with mild cognitive impairment

Mahsa Shokouhi, Deqiang Qiu, Ayman Samman Tahhan, Arshed A. Quyyumi, Ihab Hajjar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Reports on the relative importance of the diastolic and systolic blood pressures (DBP and SBP) in age-related cognitive decline are mixed. Investigating the relation between DBP/SBP and functional and structural brain changes could elucidate which of the 2 measures is more critically important for brain function and, consequently, cognitive impairment. METHODS We investigated the association of SBP and DBP with cortical volume, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and white matter lesions (WML), in nondemented older adults with and without mild cognitive impairment (MCI; N = 265, 185 MCI, mean age = 64 years). Brachial blood pressure was measured twice while seated, and the average of the 2 measures was used. Cortical volume, gray matter (GM) CBF, and WML were estimated using T1-weighted imaging, arterial spin labeling, and fluid attenuation inversion recovery, respectively. RESULTS Reduced cortical volume was associated with elevated DBP (β= −0.18, P = 0.034) but not with SBP (β = −0.10, P = 0.206). GM CBF was associated with DBP (β = −0.13, P = 0.048) but not with SBP (β = −0.07, P = 0.275). Likewise, CBF within brain regions where MCI patients showed hypoperfusion were only associated with DBP (DBP: β = −0.17, P = 0.005; SBP: β = −0.09, P = 0.120). WML volume was associated with both DBP (β = 0.20, P = 0.005) and SBP (β = 0.30, P < 0.001). For all measures, there was no interaction between DBP/SBP and cognitive status, indicating that these associations were independent of the cognitive status. CONCLUSIONS Independently of the cognitive status, DBP is more critically important for GM volume and perfusion, whereas WML is associated with both blood pressures, likely reflecting long-term effect of hypertension and autoregulation dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1277
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 13 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Blood pressure
  • Cerebral perfusion
  • Hypertension
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • White matter lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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