Characterization of cerebral microangiopathy using 3 Tesla MRI: correlation with neurological impairment and vascular risk factors

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2002 Jan;15(1):1-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.10039.


Purpose: To investigate whether clinical and neuropsychological impairment in cerebral small-vessel disease (CSVD) can be evaluated by means of morphological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Materials and methods: MRI at 3 Tesla in T2- and T1-weighted sequences was evaluated in 44 patients with cerebral microangiopathy, and 30 patients with combined cerebral micro- and macroangiopathy. The MR characteristics were correlated to clinical data, attentional impairment, and the patients' individual vascular risk factor profiles. Fifteen healthy age-matched control subjects participated in the study to assess MR signal changes in nonhypertensive elderly subjects.

Results: Patients and normal controls differed significantly in the extent of MR signal changes. A close relation between age, obesity, hypertension, and MR signal abnormalities was evident in all patients. Patients with pure CSVD additionally showed an association between their MR-defined severity of disease and their degree of neurological impairment, and their vascular risk score. In contrast, attentional impairment did not relate to the MR-defined severity of CSVD.

Conclusion: MR signal changes in CSVD show a close relationship to some risk factors of individual patients.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Risk Factors