Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Jens Randel Nyengaard

Age-induced white matter changes in the human brain: A stereological investigation

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Y. Tang, University Institute of Pathology, Arhus, N. Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong
  • ,
  • J. R. Nyengaard
  • B. Pakkenberg
  • ,
  • H. J.G. Gundersen

In the present pilot study, age-related white matter changes were investigated by the use of design-based stereological methods. In the brains of elderly subjects, the total volume of the white matter and the total volume of the myelinated fibers therein were lower than in those of young subjects (15% and 17%, respectively), but the differences were not statistically significant. The total length of the myelinated fibers of the white matter in the elderly group of 86,000 km was, statistically, significantly decreased by 27% compared with 118,000 km in the young group. This loss of the total nerve fiber length was accompanied in particular by a decline of the myelinated fibers with a small diameter. The mean diameter of the myelinated fibers in the young group was significantly smaller than in the old group, but the relative size distributions of the myelinated fiber diameters between the young and old groups were similar. Our findings show that the atrophy of the human white matter during ageing is probably caused by a loss of myelinated fibers with a small diameter.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Pages (from-to)609-615
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1997

    Research areas

  • Ageing, Diameter, Human brain, Length, Myelinated fibers, Stereology, Volume, White matter

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 156887461