To study the relationship of Nε-(carboxymethyl)-lysine level (CML) with microstructure changes of white matter (WM), and cognitive impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and to discuss the potential mechanism underlying T2DM-associated cognitive impairment.
The study was performed in T2DM patients (n=22) with disease course ≥5 years and age ranging from 65 to 75 years old. A control group consisted of 25 sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers. Fractional anisotropy (FA) of several WM regions was analyzed by diffusion tensor imaging scan. Plasma CML levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and cognitive function was assessed by Mini-Mental State Examination and Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA).
The total Mini-Mental State Examination score in the patient group (25.72±3.13) was significantly lower than the control group (28.16±2.45) (p<0.05). In addition, the total MoCA score in the patient group (22.15±3.56) was significantly lower than the control group 25.63±4.12) (p<0.01). In the patient group, FA values were significantly decreased in the corpus callosum, cingulate fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, parietal WM, hippocampus, and temporal lobes relative to corresponding regions of healthy controls (p<0.05). Plasma CML level was negatively correlated with average FA values in the global brain (r=−0.58, p<0.01) and MoCA scores (r=−0.47, p<0.05).
In T2DM, WM microstructure changes occur in older patients, and elevations in CML may play a role in the development of cognitive impairment.