Increased visibility of deep medullary veins in leukoaraiosis: a 3-T MRI study

Front Aging Neurosci. 2014 Jun 30;6:144. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00144. eCollection 2014.


Cerebral venous collagenosis has been implicated in leading to white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) via venous ischemia. We sought to determine whether cerebral venous dilation or ischemia correlate with the severity of WMHs by quantitative in vivo imaging techniques. This was an investigator-initiated prospective single-center study. We reviewed clinical, laboratory data from 158 consecutive WMHs patients and 50 controls, and measured the number of voxels of deep medullary veins (DMVs) on susceptibility-weighted image and assessed the WMH volume (as a marker of the severity of WMHs) on a 3-T magnetic resonance system. We then performed the logistic-regression analysis and partial Pearson's correlation analysis to examine the association between the venous voxel count and WMH volume. The number of voxels of DMVs was significantly higher in WMHs than in controls. Increased number of voxels of DMVs was independently associated with both WMH volume of the whole brain and coregistered regional WMH volume after adjusting for age and number of lacunes. Our study indicates that cerebral deep venous insufficiency or ischemia play a role in the pathogenesis of WMHs, which may provide prognostic information on patients with WMHs and may have implications for therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: aging; deep medullary veins; leukoaraiosis; susceptibility-weighted imaging; venous ischemia; white matter hyperintensities.