Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has shown to be associated with carotid plaque vulnerability. However, the impact of T2DM on intracranial artery atherosclerosis is not well‐understood.
To evaluate the association of diabetes and glycemic control with intracranial atherosclerotic plaque characteristics identified by three‐dimensional contrast enhanced MR vessel wall imaging in patients after acute ischemic stroke.
Two hundred and eighty‐eight symptomatic patients with acute ischemic stroke due to intracranial atherosclerotic plaque.
T1WI volume isotropic turbo spin‐echo acquisition sequence at 3.0 T.
Clinical profiles, blood biomarkers, the number of intracranial plaques, plaque enhanced score, and the features (location, luminal stenotic rate, intraplaque hemorrhage, length, burden, enhancement grade, and ratio) of culprit plaque (defined as the most stenotic lesion ipsilateral to the ischemic event) and nonculprit plaque were analyzed by three radiologists.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA), Shapiro–Wilk normality test, Levene’s test, ANOVA with Bonferroni post‐hoc test, Kruskal Wallis H test with subsequent pairwise comparisons, chi‐square with Bonferroni post‐hoc test, generalized linear regression, Pearson correlation test, Kendall’s W and intra‐class correlation coefficient.
Two hundred and twenty‐five participants (age 60 ± 10 years, 58.7% male) with 958 intracranial plaques were included. More intracranial plaques were found in the T2DM group than the non‐T2DM group (4.80 ± 2.22 vs. 3.60 ± 1.78, P < 0.05). Patients with poorly‐controlled T2DM exhibited higher culprit plaque enhancement ratio than patients with well‐controlled T2DM and non‐T2DM (2.32 ± 0.61 vs. 1.60 ± 0.62 and 1.39 ± 0.39; respectively, P < 0.05). After adjusting for other clinical variables, T2DM was independently associated with increased intracranial plaque number (β = 0.269, P < 0.05), and HbA1c level was independently associated with culprit plaque enhancement ratio (β = 0.641, P < 0.05) in multivariate analysis.
T2DM is associated with an increased intracranial plaque number. Higher HbA1c is associated with stronger plaque enhancement. 3D contrast enhanced MR vessel wall imaging may help better understand the association of T2DM and glycemic control with intracranial plaque.