Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319785

Research Project: Impact of Early Dietary Factors on Child Development and Health

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Title: Brain gray and white matter differences in healthy normal weight and obese children

Author
item OU, XIAWEI - ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (ACNC)
item ANDRES, ALINE - ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (ACNC)
item PIVIK, R - ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (ACNC)
item CLEVES, MARIO - ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (ACNC)
item BADGER, THOMAS - ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER (ACNC)

Submitted to: Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/2015
Publication Date: 11/1/2015
Citation: Ou, X., Andres, A., Pivik, R.T., Cleves, M.A., Badger, T.M. 2015. Brain gray and white matter differences in healthy normal weight and obese children. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 42(5):1205-1213.

Interpretive Summary: We used advanced and quantitative MRI methods to compare the brain grey and white matter respectively between healthy normal weight and obese young children. Our results showed that obese children had significantly lower regional grey matter volume in widespread brain regions which are important for functions such as motor control and working memory. Our results also showed that obese children had altered white matter properties in association and projection fibers in the left brain white matter.

Technical Abstract: To compare brain gray and white matter development in healthy normal weight and obese children. Twenty-four healthy 8- to 10-year-old children whose body mass index was either <75th percentile (normal weight) or >95th percentile (obese) completed an MRI examination which included T1-weighted three-dimensional structural imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare the regional gray and white matter between the normal weight and obese children, and tract-based spatial statistics was used to compare the water diffusion parameters in the white matter between groups. Compared with normal weight children, obese children had significant (P<0.05, family wise error corrected) regional gray matter reduction in the right middle temporal gyrus, left and right thalami, left superior parietal gyrus, left pre/postcentral gyri, and left cerebellum. Obese children also had higher white matter (P<0.05, corrected) in multiple regions in the brain and higher DTI measured fractional anisotropy (FA) values (P<0.05, corrected) in part of the left brain association and projection fibers. There was no difference in mean diffusivity at P<0.05, corrected. DTI eigenvalues suggested that the FA differences were likely from decreased radial diffusivity (P<0.1, corrected) and there was no change in axial diffusivity (corrected P>0.35 for all voxels). Our results indicated that obese but otherwise healthy children have different regional gray and white matter development in the brain and differences in white matter microstructures compared with healthy normal weight children.