Ischemic brain injury in cerebral amyloid angiopathy

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016 Jan;36(1):40-54. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2015.88.


Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is a common form of cerebral small vessel disease and an important risk factor for intracerebral hemorrhage and cognitive impairment. While the majority of research has focused on the hemorrhagic manifestation of CAA, its ischemic manifestations appear to have substantial clinical relevance as well. Findings from imaging and pathologic studies indicate that ischemic lesions are common in CAA, including white-matter hyperintensities, microinfarcts, and microstructural tissue abnormalities as detected with diffusion tensor imaging. Furthermore, imaging markers of ischemic disease show a robust association with cognition, independent of age, hemorrhagic lesions, and traditional vascular risk factors. Widespread ischemic tissue injury may affect cognition by disrupting white-matter connectivity, thereby hampering communication between brain regions. Challenges are to identify imaging markers that are able to capture widespread microvascular lesion burden in vivo and to further unravel the etiology of ischemic tissue injury by linking structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities to their underlying pathophysiology and histopathology. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of ischemic brain injury in CAA will be a key step toward new interventions to improve long-term cognitive outcomes for patients with CAA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / complications*
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / pathology
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Microvessels / drug effects
  • Microvessels / pathology*
  • White Matter / blood supply
  • White Matter / drug effects
  • White Matter / pathology