Binswanger's disease: toward a diagnosis agreement and therapeutic approach

Expert Rev Neurother. 2014 Oct;14(10):1203-13. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2014.956726. Epub 2014 Sep 9.


Binswanger's disease (BD) is a progressive form of cerebral small vessel disease affecting the white matter and other subcortical structures. Clinical and imaging characteristics, neuropsychological profile and cerebrospinal fluid analysis aid in making the diagnosis. BD shares features of other small vessel diseases and degenerative neurological conditions, which makes diagnosis difficult. However, with recent developments in MRI methods and serum/cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, we have gained a greater understanding of the complex pathophysiology of the disease that will guide us to a more certain diagnosis. There is growing evidence that the white matter injury in BD is related to endothelial dysfunction with a secondary inflammatory response leading to breakdown of the neurovascular unit. This review summarizes current and future research directions, including pathophysiological mechanisms and potential therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: Binswanger’s disease; dynamic contrast enhanced MRI; leukoaraiosis; matrix metalloproteinases; neuroinflammation; neurovascular unit; small vessel disease; subcortical ischemic vascular disease; vascular cognitive impairment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / therapy
  • Dementia, Vascular / diagnosis*
  • Dementia, Vascular / therapy*
  • Endothelium / pathology*
  • Endothelium / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods