Lower cardiac output is associated with neurodegeneration among older adults with normal cognition but not mild cognitive impairment

Elizabeth E. Moore, Dandan Liu, Corey W. Bown, Hailey A. Kresge, Deepak K. Gupta, Kimberly R. Pechman, Lisa A. Mendes, L. Taylor Davis, Katherine A. Gifford, Adam W. Anderson, Thomas J. Wang, Bennett A. Landman, Timothy J. Hohman, Angela L. Jefferson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Subclinical cardiac dysfunction is associated with smaller total brain volume on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To study whether cardiac output relates to regional measurements of grey and white matter structure, older adults (n = 326) underwent echocardiogram to quantify cardiac output (L/min) and brain MRI. Linear regressions related cardiac output to grey matter volumes measured on T1 and white matter hyperintensities assessed on T2-FLAIR. Voxelwise analyses related cardiac output to diffusion tensor imaging adjusting for demographic, genetic, and vascular risk factors. Follow-up models assessed a cardiac output x diagnosis interaction with stratification (normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment). Cardiac output interacted with diagnosis, such that lower cardiac output related to smaller total grey matter (p = 0.01), frontal lobe (p = 0.01), and occipital lobe volumes (p = 0.01) among participants with normal cognition. When excluding participants with cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation, associations emerged with smaller parietal lobe (p = 0.005) and hippocampal volume (p = 0.05). Subtle age-related cardiac changes may disrupt neuronal homeostasis and impact grey matter integrity prior to cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2040-2050
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain MRI
  • Cardiac output
  • Grey matter
  • Neurodegeneration
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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