Cerebrovascular Damage Mediates Relations Between Aortic Stiffness and Memory

Leroy L Cooper, Todd Woodard, Sigurdur Sigurdsson, Mark A van Buchem, Alyssa A Torjesen, Lesley A Inker, Thor Aspelund, Gudny Eiriksdottir, Tamara B Harris, Vilmundur Gudnason, Lenore J Launer, Gary F Mitchell
Hypertension 2016, 67 (1): 176-82
Aortic stiffness is associated with cognitive decline. Here, we examined the association between carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and cognitive function and investigated whether cerebrovascular remodeling and parenchymal small vessel disease damage mediate the relation. Analyses were based on 1820 (60% women) participants in the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study. Multivariable linear regression models adjusted for vascular and demographic confounders showed that higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity was related to lower memory score (standardized β: -0.071±0.023; P=0.002). Cerebrovascular resistance and white matter hyperintensities were each associated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and memory (P<0.05). Together, cerebrovascular resistance and white matter hyperintensities (total indirect effect: -0.029; 95% CI, -0.043 to -0.017) attenuated the direct relation between carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and memory (direct effect: -0.042; 95% CI, -0.087 to 0.003; P=0.07) and explained ≈41% of the observed effect. Our results suggest that in older adults, associations between aortic stiffness and memory are mediated by pathways that include cerebral microvascular remodeling and microvascular parenchymal damage.

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