Background and Purpose
White matter hyperintensities have been associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive decline, and dementia. Chronic kidney disease is a risk factor for vascular disease and has been associated with inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of white matter hyperintensities. Few studies have explored the relationship between chronic kidney disease and white matter hyperintensities.
The Northern Manhattan Study is a prospective, community-based cohort of which a subset of stroke-free participants underwent MRIs. MRIs were analyzed quantitatively for white matter hyperintensities volume, which was log-transformed to yield a normal distribution (log-white matter hyperintensity volume). Kidney function was modeled using serum creatinine, the Cockcroft-Gault formula for creatinine clearance, and the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula for estimated glomerular filtration rate. Creatinine clearance and estimated glomerular filtration rate were trichotomized to 15 to 60 mL/min, 60 to 90 mL/min, and >90 mL/min (reference). Linear regression was used to measure the association between kidney function and log-white matter hyperintensity volume adjusting for age, gender, race–ethnicity, education, cardiac disease, diabetes, homocysteine, and hypertension.
Baseline data were available on 615 subjects (mean age 70 years, 60% women, 18% whites, 21% blacks, 62% Hispanics). In multivariate analysis, creatinine clearance 15 to 60 mL/min was associated with increased log-white matter hyperintensity volume (β 0.322; 95% CI, 0.095 to 0.550) as was estimated glomerular filtration rate 15 to 60 mL/min (β 0.322; 95% CI, 0.080 to 0.564). Serum creatinine, per 1-mg/dL increase, was also positively associated with log-white matter hyperintensity volume (β 1.479; 95% CI, 1.067 to 2.050).
The association between moderate–severe chronic kidney disease and white matter hyperintensity volume highlights the growing importance of kidney disease as a possible determinant of cerebrovascular disease and/or as a marker of microangiopathy.