Contrast-enhanced MRI of white matter lesions in patients with blood-brain barrier dysfunction

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:477-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06402.x.


White matter lesions (WMLs) and blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction are common in dementia. Both conditions may be a consequence of small-vessel disease, in which case the BBB damage could be suspected to be located to the WMLs. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to show WMLs as well as to detect BBB damage when using an intravenous contrast agent, gadolinium. We examined 10 demented patients with WMLs, including 5 cases with BBB (elevated CSF/serum albumin ratios). Results showed no significant changes in MR signal in the WMLs after contrast administration. We conclude that WMLs are not related to BBB damage to such a degree that is detectable with this method and that the elevated CSF albumin might have another origin.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Serum Albumin / analysis
  • Serum Albumin / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Contrast Media
  • Serum Albumin
  • Gadolinium DTPA