Longitudinal development of brain iron is linked to cognition in youth

Bart Larsen, Josiane Bourque, X. Tyler M. Moore, Azeez Adebimpe, Monica E. Calkins, Mark A. Elliott, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Paul J. Moberg, David R. Roalf, Kosha Ruparel, Bruce I. Turetsky, Simon N. Vandekar, X. Daniel H. Wolf, Russell T. Shinohara, X. Theodore D. Satterthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Brain iron is vital to multiple aspects of brain function, including oxidative metabolism, myelination, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Atypical iron concentration in the basal ganglia is associated with neurodegenerative disorders in aging and cognitive deficits. However, the normative development of brain iron concentration in adolescence and its relationship to cognition are less well understood. Here, we address this gap in a longitudinal sample of 922 humans aged 8 –26 years at the first visit (M = 15.1, SD = 3.72; 336 males, 486 females) with up to four multiecho T2* scans each. Using this sample of 1236 imaging sessions, we assessed the longitudinal developmental trajectories of tissue iron in the basal ganglia. We quantified tissue iron concentration using R2* relaxometry within four basal ganglia regions, including the caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, and globus pallidus. The longitudinal development of R2* was modeled using generalized additive mixed models (GAMMs) with splines to capture linear and nonlinear developmental processes. We observed significant increases in R2* across all regions, with the greatest and most prolonged increases occurring in the globus pallidus and putamen. Further, we found that the developmental trajectory of R2* in the putamen is significantly related to individual differences in cognitive ability, such that greater cognitive ability is increasingly associated with greater iron concentration through late adolescence and young-adulthood. Together, our results suggest a prolonged period of basal ganglia iron enrichment that extends into the mid-twenties, with diminished iron concentration associated with poorer cognitive ability during late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1810-1818
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume40
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 26 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (T32MH019112 to B.L., T32MH014654 to B.L., R01MH119219 to R.E.G. & R.C.G., R01MH117014 to R.C.G., U01-MH081902 to R.E.G., MH063381 to P.J.M., MH108895toP.J.M.,R01MH099156toB.I.T.,R01MH113565toD.H.W.,K01MH102609toD.R.R.,R01MH112847to

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (T32MH019112 to B.L., T32MH014654 to B.L., R01MH119219 to R.E.G. & R.C.G., R01MH117014 to R.C.G., U01-MH081902 to R.E.G., MH063381 to P.J.M., MH108895 to P.J.M., R01MH099156 to B.I.T., R01MH113565 to D.H.W., K01MH102609 to D.R.R., R01MH112847 to R.T.S. & T.D.S., R01MH113550 to T.D.S., R01MH120482 to T.D.S., R01MH107703 to T.D.S.); Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR396349 to J.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 the authors

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Basal ganglia
  • Cognition
  • Development
  • Iron
  • R2*

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