Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a critical role in the angiogenesis and proliferation of various types of cells such as neurons, astroglia, and endothelial cells in the brain. A common polymorphism in the VEGF gene (-2578 C/A) is associated with circulating VEGF levels, cancers and Alzheimer's disease. Nonetheless, the effects of this polymorphism on normal human brain volume, arterial blood volume, and blood supply remain unclear. In this study, the effects of this polymorphism on the total gray matter volume (TGMV) and total white matter volume (TWMV) using T1-weighted structural images and the total arterial blood volume (TABV) and mean cerebral blood flow (mCBF) during rest using arterial spin labeling (ASL) in 765 young adult humans were investigated. Voxelby-voxel whole-brain analyses of these measures were also performed. Multiple regression analyses with age and sex as covariates revealed that the VEGF genotype (number of C alleles) was significantly and positively correlated with TGMV, TWMV, and TABV as well as with regional gray and white matter volumes in widespread areas and regional arterial blood volume in some areas with high arterial blood volume. However, these regional associations were not seen when the corresponding global signal was included as a covariate in the multiple regression analyses, indicating that we failed to obtain evidence of regionspecific associations between these brain measures and the genotype. The results suggest that the VEGF-2578C allele, is associated with changes in the vascular system that lead to increased blood volume and larger brain volume.
- Blood volume
- Brain volume