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.