In young adults, a study published online in Neurology has shown that lower grey matter volume (GMV) is seen in individuals with blood pressure (BP) >120/80 mm Hg.

H. Lina Schaare, from the International Max Planck Research School in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues examined the correlation between BP and GMV from structural 3T T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of 423 healthy adults aged 19 to 40 years.

Data originated from four unpublished studies; voxel-based morphometry was performed on each study separately and the results were combined in image-based meta-analyses to assess the cumulative effects.

The researchers found that lower regional GMV correlated with higher peripheral BP. Comparing individuals with subhypertension (systolic BP [SBP] 120 to 129 or diastolic BP [DBP] 80 to 84 mm Hg or SBP 130 to 139 and DBP 85 to 89 mm Hg) with those with SBP <120 and DBP <80 mm Hg, lower GMV was found with higher BP. In regions including hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, frontal, and parietal structures, there was lower BP-related GMV.

“Contrary to assumptions that BP-related brain damage arises over years of manifest disease, our data suggest that subtle pressure-related GM alterations can be observed in young adults without previously diagnosed hypertension,” the authors write.

 “Our results highlight the importance of taking BP levels as a continuous measure into consideration, which could help initiate such early preventive measures.”


REFERENCE: Schaare et al: Association of peripheral blood pressure with gray matter volume in 19- to 40-year-old adults;