Abdominal obesity and brain atrophy in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Climie, Rachel E. D., Moran, Chris, Callisaya, Michele, Blizzard, Leigh, Sharman, James E., Venn, Alison, Phan, Thanh G., Beare, Richard, Forbes, Josephine, Blackburn, Nicholas B. and Srikanth, Velandai (2015) Abdominal obesity and brain atrophy in type 2 diabetes mellitus. PloS One, 10 11: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142589

Author Climie, Rachel E. D.
Moran, Chris
Callisaya, Michele
Blizzard, Leigh
Sharman, James E.
Venn, Alison
Phan, Thanh G.
Beare, Richard
Forbes, Josephine
Blackburn, Nicholas B.
Srikanth, Velandai
Title Abdominal obesity and brain atrophy in type 2 diabetes mellitus
Journal name PloS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-11-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0142589
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is associated with gray matter atrophy. Adiposity and physical inactivity are risk factors for T2D and brain atrophy. We studied whether the associations of T2D with total gray matter volume (GMV) and hippocampal volume (HV) are dependent on obesity and physical activity.

Materials and Methods

In this cross-sectional study, we measured waist-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), mean steps/day and brain volumes in a community dwelling cohort of people with and without T2D. Using multivariable linear regression, we examined whether WHR, BMI and physical activity mediated or modified the association between T2D, GMV and HV.


There were 258 participants with (mean age 67±7 years) and 302 without (mean age 72±7 years) T2D. Adjusting for age, sex and intracranial volume, T2D was independently associated with lower total GMV (p = 0.001) and HV (p<0.001), greater WHR (p<0.001) and BMI (p<0.001), and lower mean steps/day (p = 0.002). After adjusting for covariates, the inclusion of BMI and mean steps/day did not significantly affect the T2D-GMV association, but WHR attenuated it by 32% while remaining independently associated with lower GMV (p<0.01). The T2D-HV association was minimally changed by the addition of BMI, steps/day or WHR in the model. No statistical interactions were observed between T2D and measures of obesity and physical activity in explaining brain volumes.


Abdominal obesity or its downstream effects may partially mediate the adverse effect of T2D on brain atrophy. This requires confirmation in longitudinal studies.
Keyword Physical activity
Cognitive function
Insulin resistance
Hippocampal neurogenesis
Alzheimer disease
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # e0142589

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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