Structural brain abnormalities are key risk factors for brain diseases, such as dementia, stroke, and depression, in type 2 diabetes. It is unknown whether structural brain abnormalities already occur in prediabetes. Therefore, we investigated whether both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are associated with lacunar infarcts (LIs), white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), cerebral microbleeds (CMBs), and brain atrophy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:
We used data from 2,228 participants (1,373 with normal glucose metabolism [NGM], 347 prediabetes, and 508 type 2 diabetes (oversampled); mean age 59.2 ± 8.2 years; and 48.3% women) of the Maastricht Study, a population-based cohort study. Diabetes status was determined with an oral glucose tolerance test. Brain imaging was performed with 3 Tesla MRI. Results were analyzed with multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses.
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes were associated with the presence of LIs (odds ratio 1.61 [95% CI 0.98-2.63] and 1.67 [1.04-2.68], respectively; P trend = 0.027), larger WMH (β 0.07 log10-transformed mL [log-mL] [95% CI 0.00-0.15] and 0.21 log-mL [0.14-0.28] , respectively; P trend <0.001), and smaller white matter volumes (β -4.0 mL [-7.3 to -0.6] and -7.2 mL [-10.4 to -4.0], respectively; P trend<0.001) compared with NGM. Prediabetes was not associated with gray matter volumes or the presence of CMBs.
Prediabetes is associated with structural brain abnormalities, with further deterioration in type 2 diabetes. These results indicate that, in middle-aged populations, structural brain abnormalities already occur in prediabetes, which may suggest that the treatment of early dysglycemia may contribute to the prevention of brain diseases.