White matter lesions in cerebral small vessel disease are related to ischemic injury and increase the risk of stroke and cognitive decline. Pathological changes due to cerebral small vessel disease are increasingly recognized outside of discrete lesions, but the metabolic alterations in nonlesional tissue has not been described. Aerobic glycolysis is critical to white matter myelin homeostasis and repair. In this study, we examined cerebral metabolism of glucose and oxygen as well as blood flow in individuals with and without cerebral small vessel disease using multitracer positron emission tomography. We show that glycolysis is relatively elevated in nonlesional white matter in individuals with small vessel disease relative to healthy, age-matched controls. On the other hand, in young healthy individuals, glycolysis is relatively low in areas of white matter susceptible to lesion formation. These results suggest that increased white matter glycolysis is a marker of pathology associated with small vessel disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-999
Number of pages9
JournalNature Aging
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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