Hypertension Trends and White Matter Brain Injury in the Offspring Framingham Heart Study Cohort

Rodica E. Petrea, Adlin Pinheiro, Serkalem Demissie, Oluchi Ekenze, Hugo J. Aparicio, Claudia L. Satizabal, Pauline Maillard, Charles Decarli, Alexa S. Beiser, Sudha Seshadri, Vasileios Arsenios Lioutas, Jose Rafael Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hypertension is the most potent stroke risk factor and is also related to cerebral small vessel disease. We studied the relation between mid-to-late-life hypertension trends and cerebral white matter injury in community-dwelling individuals from the FHS (Framingham Heart Study). METHODS: FHS Offspring cohort participants with available mid-life and late-life blood pressure measurements and brain magnetic resonance imaging were included. Multiple regression analyses were used to relate hypertension trends (normotension-normotension [reference], normotension-hypertension, and hypertension-hypertension) to white matter injury metrics on diffusion tensor imaging (free water, fractional anisotropy, and peak skeletonized mean diffusivity) and Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery (white matter hyperintensity volume) by different blood pressure cutoffs (130/80, 140/90, and 150/90 mm Hg). RESULTS: We included 1018 participants (mean age 47.3±7.4 years at mid-life and 73.2±7.3 at late-life). At the 140/90 mm Hg cutoff, the hypertension-hypertension trend was associated with higher free water (β, 0.16 [95% CI, 0.03-0.30]; P=0.021) and peak skeletonized mean diffusivity (β, 0.15 [95% CI, 0.01-0.29]; P=0.033). At a 130/80 mm Hg cutoff, the hypertension-hypertension trend had significantly higher free water (β, 0.16 [95% CI, 0.01-0.30]; P=0.035); and the normotension-hypertension (β, 0.24 [95% CI, 0.03-0.44]; P=0.027) and hypertension-hypertension (β, 0.22 [95% CI, 0.04-0.41]; P=0.022) trends had significantly increased white matter hyperintensity volume. Exploratory stratified analysis showed effect modifications by APOE ϵ4 allele and age. CONCLUSIONS: Mid-to-late-life hypertension exposure is significantly associated with microstructural and to a lesser extent, visible white matter injury; the effects are observed at both conventional and lower blood pressure cutoffs and are associated with longer duration of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • alleles
  • anisotropy
  • diffusion tensor imaging
  • hypertension
  • water
  • white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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