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Differences in cortical microstructure according to body mass index in neurologically healthy populations using structural magnetic resonance imaging

Heliyon. 2024 Jun 15;10(12):e33134. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e33134. eCollection 2024 Jun 30.


Associations between brain structure and body mass index (BMI) are increasingly gaining attention. Although BMI-related regional alterations in brain morphology have been previously reported, the effect of BMI on the microstructural profiles, which provide information on the proxy of neuronal density within the cortex, is unexplored. In this study, we investigated the links between cortical layer-specific microstructural profiles and BMI in 302 neurologically healthy young adults. Using the microstructure-sensitive proxy based on the T1-and T2-weighted ratio, we estimated microstructural profile covariance (MPC) by calculating linear correlations of cortical depth-wise intensity profiles between different brain regions. Then, low-dimensional gradients of the MPC matrix were estimated using dimensionality reduction techniques, and the gradients were associated with BMI. Significant effects in the heteromodal association areas were observed. The BMI-gradient association map was related to the geodesic distance along the cortical surface, curvature, and sulcal depth, suggesting that the microstructural alterations occurred along the cortical topology. The BMI-gradient association map was further linked to cognitive states related to negative emotions. Our findings may provide insights into understanding the atypical cortical microstructure associated with BMI.

PMID:38984310 | PMC:PMC11231607 | DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e33134

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