Cerebral Amyloidal Angiopathy--a disease with implications for neurology and psychiatry

Brain Res. 2013 Jun 26;1519:19-30. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.04.052. Epub 2013 May 4.


Cerebral Amyloidal Angiopathy (CAA), which occurs sporadically in most cases but can also occur hereditarily, belongs to the group amyloidoses and is characterized by the deposition and accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) in smaller arterial vessels of the brain. The deposition of Aβ leads to degenerative changes in the cerebral vessel system (thickening of the vessel wall, microaneurysm, constriction of vascular lumen, dissection), which favour the development of the clinical symptomatology most often associated with CAA. Besides haemorrhages, cerebral ischaemia, transient neurological symptoms, leukoencephalopathy as well as cognitive decline and even dementia may appear in connection with CAA. A definite diagnosis of CAA can only be made on the basis of a pathological assessment, even though diagnostic findings of cerebral neuroimaging and clinical symptoms allow the diagnosis of a probable CAA. At present, no causal therapy options are available. Although CAA is placed within the range of neurological illnesses, psychiatric symptoms such as cognitive impairment, personality change or behavioural problems as well as depression are plausible clinical manifestations of CAA and may even dominate the clinical picture. Apart from epidemiological, pathogenetical, clinical and diagnostical aspects, possible psychiatric implications of CAA are discussed in the review article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / complications*
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Neurology*
  • Psychiatry*