Potential surrogate markers of cerebral microvascular angiopathy in asymptomatic subjects at risk of stroke

Johann Selvarajah, Marietta Scott, Stavros Stivaros, Sharon Hulme, Rachel Georgiou, Nancy Rothwell, Pippa Tyrrell, Alan Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cerebral microvascular angiopathy (MVA) is associated with clinical vascular risk factors and is characterised by histological changes, including thickening of the walls of arterial vessels and dilatation of the Virchow-Robin spaces (VRS). We have previously described two novel biomarkers of MVA based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), VRS dilatation and abnormalities in the transfer of systolic arterial pulsation to the ventricular CSF, which occur as a result of decreased cerebral arterial compliance. These are associated with vascular dementia and treatment-resistant late onset depression. We studied a group of normal subjects at risk of cerebrovascular disease to determine if these biomarkers are present in patients who have no evidence of symptomatic vascular disease. We studied 31 subjects, 16 with three or more vascular risk factors and 15 with one or less significant risk factors. We measured arterial blood flow and CSF flow in the cerebral aqueduct, white matter lesion load, and the distribution and number of VRS. There were significant differences in CSF pulsatility and in VRS in the basal ganglia between the two groups, but no differences in white matter lesion load. We conclude that asymptomatic subjects at risk of stroke have MRI evidence of MVA before white matter lesions become apparent. © European Society of Radiology 2008.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1018
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Microvascular angiopathy
  • Stroke risk


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