Blood pressure changes impact corticospinal integrity and downstream gait and balance control

Elizabeth A. Coon, Anna M. Castillo, Timothy G. Lesnick, Sheelakumari Raghavan, Michelle M. Mielke, Robert I. Reid, B. Gwen Windham, Ronald C. Petersen, Clifford R. Jack, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Prashanthi Vemuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blood pressure (BP) plays an important role in white matter integrity. We sought to determine the role of intra-individual BP changes on white matter and evaluate the impact on gait speed and imbalance by sex. We identified 990 eligible participants in the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging and analyzed fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter regions. Using structural equation models (SEM), we assessed the effect of BP slope on corticospinal tract (CST) FA and downstream effects on gait speed and imbalance after age and sex effects. Of 990 participants, 438 (44%) were female with mean age of 76 years. In linear models predicting CST FA, a greater change in BP slope (0.0004; p = 0.026) and female sex (0.017; p < 0.001) were significant predictors of lower CST FA. SEMs showed that older age, female sex, and higher BP slope predicted lower CST FA, and lower CST FA predicted worse downstream motor control. Therefore, intra-individual BP slope and variability impact corticospinal tract microstructural properties of white matter with females having increased susceptibility to damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of aging
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Blood pressure
  • DTI
  • Gait
  • Imbalance
  • Sex differences
  • White matter tracts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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