Type 2 diabetes mellitus, skin autofluorescence and brain atrophy

  1. Velandai Srikanth1,2,8
  1. 1Stroke and Ageing Research Group, Department of Medicine, Southern Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Neurosciences, Monash Medical Centre, Monash Health, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
  4. 4Molecular Medicine Research Group, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
  5. 5Mater University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  6. 6Mater Clinical School, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  7. 7Developmental Imaging, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  8. 8Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  1. Corresponding Author: Velandai Srikanth, E-mail: velandai.srikanth{at}


Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is associated with brain atrophy, but the mechanisms underlying this link are unknown. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) accumulate in T2DM resulting in inflammation, oxidative stress, and protein cross-linking, which are known contributors to neurodegeneration. We aimed to study whether tissue AGE accumulation is associated with T2DM-related brain atrophy. We performed brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cognitive tests and non-invasive skin autofluorescence (SAF, a measure of tissue AGE levels) on people aged >55 years with and without T2DM. Multivariable linear regression was used to study the relationships between T2DM, SAF and gray matter volume. There were 486 people included in the study. T2DM was associated with greater SAF. Greater SAF, T2DM and cognitive impairment were each associated with lower gray matter volume independently of age, sex and total intracranial volume. SAF partially mediated the association between T2DM and gray matter volume. Longitudinal studies may help confirm whether tissue AGE accumulation is associated with brain atrophy in T2DM.

  • Received March 28, 2014.
  • Accepted July 15, 2014.

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