White matter brain changes in chronic pancreatitis: A 7-year longitudinal follow-up study

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Background/objectives: The progression of cerebral white matter changes over time has not been explored in chronic pancreatitis (CP). We aimed to characterize such alterations in individuals with CP at baseline and after 7-years as compared with controls and to explore associations to risk factors and clinical parameters. Methods: Diffusion tensor imaging was used to evaluate 20 individuals with CP and 13 healthy controls at baseline and after 7-years (CP: n = 9, controls: n = 11). Tract-based spatial statistics were used to assess whole-brain white matter structure, extract significant fractional anisotropy (FA) clusters between groups, mean FA skeleton, mean FA and mean diffusivity (MD). FA of the extracted significant clusters between groups were used for regression analyses with risk factors and clinical parameters, including duration of CP, smoking, and diabetes. Results: At baseline, widespread reductions in FA were found in CP compared to controls involving corpus callosum, the anterior, posterior thalamic radiation, and superior and posterior corona radiata (cluster volume: 49,431 mm 3, all P < 0.05). At baseline, also the mean FA (P = 0.004) and FA skeleton (P = 0.002) were reduced in CP compared to controls. FA of the extracted significant cluster was associated with the daily tobacco use (P = 0.001) and duration of CP (P = 0.010). At follow-up, the whole-brain FA skeleton was reduced by 1.7% for both CP individuals and controls (P = 0.878). Conclusion: Individuals with CP had widespread cerebral white matter alterations at baseline that can likely be explained by the CP disease and exposure to toxic substances. Otherwise, further progression resembles that in healthy controls.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)871-879
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Microstructural abnormalities white matter
  • Tobacco


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