OBJECTIVES: Pre-eclampsia has been associated with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and/or psychological complaints. Signs of altered brain morphology and more white-matter hyperintensities (WMHs) during and shortly after pre-eclampsia have been observed in some, but not all, studies. We compared volumes of cerebral structures and the number of WMHs between formerly pre-eclamptic women and those with normotensive gestational history and assessed the effect of age on brain volumes. METHODS: Structural 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was performed in 59 formerly pre-eclamptic women (aged 37 ± 6 years, 0.5-16 years postpartum) and 20 women with a history of normotensive pregnancy (aged 39 ± 5 years, 1-18 years postpartum). Fazekas scores were obtained to assess WMH load. Volumes of the whole brain, gray and white matter, brain lobes, and ventricular and pericortical cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) spaces were calculated after semiautomatic segmentation. Group differences were analyzed using ANCOVA and Bayes factors. Results were adjusted for age, educational attainment, presence of current hypertension and total intracranial volume. The effect of age on cerebral volumes was analyzed using linear regression analysis. RESULTS: No changes in global and local brain volumes were observed between formerly pre-eclamptic and control women. Also, no difference in WMH load was observed. Independent of pre-eclamptic history, gray-matter volume significantly decreased with age, while ventricular and pericortical CSF space volumes significantly increased with age. CONCLUSIONS: Volumetric changes of the cerebrum are age-related but are independent of pre-eclamptic history in the first two decades after childbirth. No evidence of greater WMH load after pre-eclampsia was found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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