Background: Leukoaraiosis refers to lesions of high signal intensities in periventricular and subcortical white matter, which result from chronic microvascular ischemic damage of the brain. Emerging evidence suggests that serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is elevated in cardiometabolic diseases, which are closely related with microangiopathy. Thus, we hypothesized that serum CEA levels could be associated with leukoaraiosis and aimed to examine this association among middle-aged and older adults. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 2164 Korean adults aged ≥ 45 years who underwent a health examination program at a single hospital between 2010 and 2015. Serum CEA levels were quantified by chemiluminescence immunoassay and categorized as quartiles: Q1: ≤ 1.1, Q2: 1.2–1.6, Q2: 1.7–2.4, and Q4: ≥ 2.5 μg/L. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for leukoaraiosis based on brain MRI scans were calculated across serum CEA quartiles using multiple logistic regression analysis after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, fasting plasma glucose, triglyceride, HDL-cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and leukocyte count. Results: The overall prevalence of leukoaraiosis was 5.4% and increased with serum CEA quartiles: 3.3% for Q1, 5.0% for Q2, 5.8% for Q3, and 7.6% for Q4 (P < 0.001). The OR (95% CI) of the highest CEA quartile, compared to the lowest quartile, for leukoaraiosis was 2.164 (1.169–4.006) after adjusting for confounding variables. Conclusions: Serum CEA levels were positively and independently associated with leukoaraiosis. Our findings indicate that serum CEA level might be useful additional measure in assessing leukoaraiosis in clinical settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology