Purpose: To investigate the association between an age-related degenerative disease of subependymal veins and leukoaraiosis.
Materials and methods: Brains obtained at autopsy from 22 patients (average age, 73.2 years; range, 25-95 years) were examined with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and neuropathologic methods with alkaline phosphatase microvascular staining. The degrees of leukoaraiosis shown on MR images and of deep venous occlusion were scored independently and results compared with logistic regression analysis.
Results: Noninflammatory collagenous thickening of venous walls resulting in severe periventricular venous stenosis was found in 13 (65%) of 20 patients over 60 years old. Advanced leukoaraiosis was found in 10 (77%) of these 13 patients. Greater venous disease was associated with more severe leukoaraiosis.
Conclusion: Periventricular venous collagenosis, a commonly observed and previously ignored degenerative disease of elderly humans, is strongly associated with leukoaraiosis. Stenosis or occlusion of deep cerebral veins may promote development of leukoaraiosis.