Background and purpose: Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a genetic form of subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD). The most common vascular risk factors are unremarkable in CADASIL; however, studies on systemic blood pressure (BP) changes over time are substantially lacking. Because BP instability is a relevant risk factor for developing or worsening white matter changes in sporadic SIVD, we aimed to study the BP profile of CADASIL to investigate its relationship with cognitive decline and white matter injury.
Methods: Twenty-four-hour ambulatory BP monitoring was performed in a group of 14 CADASIL patients (12 males and 2 females) and in a group of 15 healthy age-matched control subjects. The following BP variables were compared between the 2 groups: mean daytime and nighttime systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial BP (SABPday, DABPday, and MABPday, and SABPnight, DABPnight, and MABPnight) and nocturnal percentage decline in arterial BP (%MABP reduction). Cognitive performances were tested by mini mental status examination (MMSE), and brain MRI was performed to extrapolate the T2-weighted lesion volume (LV) in each CADASIL patient. The 24-hour arterial BP variables were compared between CADASIL and controls. In addition, for CADASIL patients only, MMSE, LV, and age were compared with each pressure variable.
Results: Patients with CADASIL showed a significant reduction (P<0.05) of SABPday, DABPday, MABPday and %MABP decline with respect to controls. In addition, MMSE of CADASIL subjects correlated significantly (P<0.0001) with daytime MABP.
Conclusions: The low systemic BP profile observed in CADASIL patients was specifically attributable to reduced diurnal BP values. This may further affect cerebral hemodynamics and increase the risk of cognitive impairment in these patients. The pathogenesis of abnormal BP profile in CADASIL remains to be clarified. It is likely that central and peripheral mechanisms controlling BP variations are involved.