Study objectives: To test the hypothesis that enlarged Virchow-Robin space volumes (VRS) are associated with objective measures of poor quality sleep.
Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Setting: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Patients: Twenty-six patients being evaluated for cerebrovascular disease were assessed using polysomnography and high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging.
Measurements and results: Regionalized VRS were quantified from three-dimensional high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and correlated with measures of polysomnography-derived sleep parameters while controlling for age, stroke volume, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and ventricular cerebrospinal fluid volume. Sleep efficiency was negatively correlated with total VRS (rho = -0.47, P = 0.03) and basal ganglia VRS (rho = -0.54, P = 0.01), whereas wake after sleep onset was positively correlated with basal ganglia VRS (rho = 0.52, P = 0.02). Furthermore, VRS in the basal ganglia were negatively correlated with duration of N3 (rho = -0.53, P = 0.01).
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that sleep may play a role in perivascular clearance in ischemic brain disease, and invite future research into the potential relevance of Virchow-Robin spaces as an imaging biomarker for nocturnal metabolite clearance.
Keywords: MRI; Virchow-Robin; basal ganglia; metabolite clearance; perivascular space; polysomnography; sleep; small vessel disease; stroke; white matter.
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