Neuropathologic correlates of cerebral microbleeds in community-based older adults

Neurobiol Aging. 2023 Sep:129:89-98. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2023.05.005. Epub 2023 May 8.


Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) appearing as hypointense foci on T2*-weighted magnetic resonance images are small hemorrhages that have been linked to cognitive decline and increased mortality. However, the neuropathologic correlates of CMBs in community-based older adults are poorly understood. The present study investigated the association of age-related neuropathologies with CMBs in community-based older adults. Cerebral hemispheres from 289 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, Religious Orders Study, Minority Aging Research Study, and Rush Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Core underwent ex vivo MRI and detailed neuropathologic examination. Following Bonferroni correction, CMBs in the cerebrum overall and in the frontal lobe were associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy, CMBs in the frontal lobe were also associated with arteriolosclerosis, and CMBs in the basal ganglia showed a borderline significant association with microinfarcts. These findings suggest that CMBs can aid in the prediction of small vessel disease in community-based older adults. Finally, CMBs were not associated with dementia, suggesting that CMBs in community-based older adults may not be linked to substantial cognitive impairment.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Ex vivo; Magnetic resonance imaging; Microbleed; Neuropathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods