Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 4 pp 4911—4925
Sex and age-related differences in cerebral blood flow investigated using pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging
- 1 Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 20892, USA
- 2 Laboratory Gerontology Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 20892, USA
- 3 Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 20892, USA
Received: September 17, 2020 Accepted: February 1, 2021 Published: February 17, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202673
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Alisch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Adequate cerebral blood flow (CBF) is essential to a healthy central nervous system (CNS). Previous work suggests that CBF differs between men and women, and declines with age and certain pathologies, but a highly controlled systematic study across a wide age range, and incorporating white matter (WM) regions, has not been undertaken. Here, we investigate age- and sex-related differences in CBF in gray matter (GM) and WM regions in a cohort (N = 80) of cognitively unimpaired individuals over a wide age range. In agreement with literature, we find that GM regions exhibited lower CBF with age. In contrast, WM regions exhibited higher CBF with age in various cerebral regions. We attribute this new finding to increased oligodendrocyte metabolism to maintain myelin homeostasis in the setting of increased myelin turnover with age. Further, consistent with prior studies, we found that CBF was higher in women than in men in all brain structures investigated. Our work provides new insights into the effects of age and sex on CBF. In addition, our results provide reference CBF values for the standard ASL protocol recommended by the ISMRM Perfusion Study Group and the European ASL in Dementia consortium. Thus, these results provide a foundation for further investigations of CNS perfusion in a variety of settings, including aging, cerebrovascular diseases, and dementias.