Water exchange rate across the blood-brain barrier is associated with CSF amyloid-β 42 in healthy older adults

Brian T. Gold, Xingfeng Shao, Tiffany L. Sudduth, Gregory A. Jicha, Donna M. Wilcock, Elayna R. Seago, Danny J.J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Introduction: We tested if water exchange across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), estimated with a noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, is associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and neuropsychological function. Methods: Forty cognitively normal older adults (67–86 years old) were scanned with diffusion-prepared, arterial spin labeling (DP-ASL), which estimates water exchange rate across the BBB (kw). Participants also underwent CSF draw and neuropsychological testing. Multiple linear regression models were run with kw as a predictor of CSF concentrations and neuropsychological scores. Results: In multiple brain regions, BBB kw was positively associated with CSF amyloid beta (Aβ)42 concentration levels. BBB kw was only moderately associated with neuropsychological performance. Discussion: Our results suggest that low water exchange rate across the BBB is associated with low CSF Aβ42 concentration. These findings suggest that kw may be a promising noninvasive indicator of BBB Aβ clearance functions, a possibility which should be further tested in future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2020-2029
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Alzheimer's & Dementia published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Alzheimer's Association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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