Age-related memory loss shares similar risk factors as cardiometabolic diseases including elevated serum triglycerides (TGs) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The mechanisms linking these aberrant blood lipids to memory loss are not completely understood but may be partially mediated by reduced integrity of the hippocampus (HC), the primary brain structure for encoding and recalling memories. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that blood lipid markers are independently associated with memory performance and HC viscoelasticity—a noninvasive measure of brain tissue microstructural integrity assessed by high-resolution magnetic resonance elastography (MRE). Twenty-six individuals across the adult lifespan were recruited (14 M/12 F; mean age: 42 ± 15 y; age range: 22–78 y) and serum lipid profiles were related to episodic memory and HC viscoelasticity. All subjects were generally healthy without clinically abnormal blood lipids or memory loss. Episodic memory was negatively associated with the TG/HDL-C ratio. HC viscoelasticity was negatively associated with serum TGs and the TG/HDL-C ratio, independent of age and in the absence of associations with HC volume. These data, although cross-sectional, suggest that subtle differences in blood lipid profiles in healthy adults may contribute to a reduction in memory function and HC tissue integrity.
- brain imaging
- Cognitive impairment/decline
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine