Macrophage- and Microglia-Related Chemokines Are Associated with Small Vessel (White Matter) Vascular Dementia: A Case-Control Study

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2021;50(5):454-459. doi: 10.1159/000519885. Epub 2021 Nov 12.


Introduction: Little is known about the role of inflammation in the process of small vessel vascular dementia (VaD). Recently, the notion that small vessel VaD is caused solely by vascular pathology has been challenged by new evidence of concomitant breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and dysregulation of neuroinflammation in the white matter.

Methods: We examined selected inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the plasma from patients with small vessel VaD (n = 41) and from age-matched controls (n = 131) using multiplex bead-based assays. Participants were recruited from a memory disorder clinic and from a hospital or community.

Results: When compared to controls, patients with small vessel VaD had a highly significant increase in the plasma interferon-γ-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) level (p < 0.0001) and a highly significant decrease in plasma macrophage inflammatory protein 1-beta (MIP-1β) level (p < 0.0001). We also observed a significant increase in patients' levels of interleukin-10 (IL-10) (p = 0.022) as well as decreases in interleukin-8 (IL-8) (p = 0.004) and interleukin-7 (IL-7) (p = 0.011) when compared to age-matched controls.

Conclusion: Both IP-10 and MIP-1β are macrophage-related chemokines. The significant differences between cases and controls suggest a potential role for macrophages in small vessel VaD neuroinflammation. Although it remains unclear whether there is a causal effect of their alteration for small vessel VaD, a better understanding of these molecules in the pathogenesis of small vessel VaD may lead to improved diagnosis and future treatment outcomes against this disease.

Keywords: Interferon-γ-inducible protein 10; Macrophage inflammatory protein 1-beta; Macrophages; Microglia; Vascular dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dementia, Vascular* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • White Matter* / pathology