Brain white matter structure and amyloid deposition in black and white older adults: The aric-pet study

Keenan A. Walker, Noah Silverstein, Yun Zhou, Timothy M. Hughes, Clifford R. Jack, David S. Knopman, A. Richey Sharrett, Dean F. Wong, Thomas H. Mosley, Rebecca F. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: White matter abnormalities are a common feature of aging and Alzheimer disease, and tend to be more severe among Black individuals. However, the extent to which white matter abnormalities relate to amyloid deposition, a marker of Alzheimer pathology, remains unclear. This cross-sectional study examined the association of white matter abnormalities with cortical amyloid in a community sample of older adults without dementia and examined the moderating effect of race. METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants from the ARIC-PET (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities-Positron Emission Tomography) study underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging, which quantified white matter hyperintensity volume and microstructural integrity using diffusion tensor imaging. Participants received florbetapir positron emission tomography imaging to measure brain amyloid. Associations between measures of white matter structure and elevated amyloid status were examined using multivariable logistic regression. Among 322 participants (43% Black), each SD increase in white matter hyperintensity volume was associated with a greater odds of elevated amyloid (odds ratio [OR], 1.37; 95% CI, 1.03–1.83) after adjusting for demo-graphic and cardiovascular risk factors. In race-stratified analyses, a greater white matter hyperintensity volume was more strongly associated with elevated amyloid among Black participants (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.15–3.50), compared with White participants (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 0.89–1.89). However, the race interaction was not statistically significant (P interaction=0.09). We found no association between white matter microstructure and elevated amyloid. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest a modest positive relationship between white matter hyperintensity and elevated amyloid in older adults without dementia. Although the results indicate that this association is nonsignificantly stronger among Black participants, these findings will need to be confirmed or refuted using larger multiracial cohorts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere022087
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2021


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Amyloid
  • Cerebral microbleeds
  • Dementia
  • White matter disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain white matter structure and amyloid deposition in black and white older adults: The aric-pet study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this