Leukoaraiosis refers to an age-related, abnormal appearance of the brain white matter on neuroimaging. The association between leukoaraiosis and cerebrovascular disease suggests that ischemia may be an important contributing factor; however, the pathogenesis of the condition remains controversial. We hypothesized that physical abnormalities of blood vessels might be culpable and compared the external and internal measurements of blood vessel walls between brains that demonstrated leukoaraiosis on imaging and normal control brains. Fourteen brains of individuals who had been diagnosed as having severe leukoaraiosis and five non-leukoaraiosis control brains were studied. Arterial cross-sections were evaluated by length measurements with an image analysis device. Arterial wall thickness and the ratio of the outer and inner diameters of the vessel were measured. We measured a total of 108 vessels in the leukoaraiosis group and 95 vessels in the control group. The vessel walls of the leukoaraiosis patients were an average of 5.5μm thicker than the walls of control vessels of the same inside diameter (P=0.0000, 95% CI 3.01-8.08) and an average of 2.3μm thicker than walls of control vessels of the same outside diameter (P=0.016, 95% CI 0.48-4.17). Our data provide evidence that leukoaraiosis is associated with vessel wall thickening in an additive fashion and indicate that structural vascular abnormalities are associated with leukoaraiosis.
- Blood vessels
- White matter changes