Objective: White matter diffusivity measures of the fornix change with aging, which likely relates to changes in memory and cognition in older adults. Subregional variations in forniceal diffusivity may exist, given its heterogeneous anatomy and connectivity; however, these have not been closely examined in vivo. We examined diffusivity parameters (fractional anisotropy, FA; radial diffusivity, RD; axial diffusivity, AD) in forniceal subregions of healthy subjects and correlated them with age and hippocampal volume. Methods: Diffusion-weighted imaging and streamline tractography of the fornix were performed on 20 healthy, right-handed females (23-66 years). Six anatomical subregions were defined: midline (body, column, precommissural fornix) or lateral (fimbria, crura, postcommissural fornix). Regression analysis was performed comparing diffusivities against age. Hippocampal and ventricular volumes were also compared. Results: Diffusivity values revealed statistical changes with age in both midline and lateralized subregions. The fornix body and left crus showed age-related alterations in all metrics (FA, RD, AD), whereas only right crus FA was altered. There was no significant change in hippocampal volumes, suggesting that forniceal changes may precede hippocampal age-related changes. Conclusions: Age-related changes in fornix diffusivity measures appear subregion dependent and asymmetrical. Specific subregion diffusivity measures may be a more sensitive aging marker than hippocampal volume change.

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