Synergistic effects of longitudinal amyloid and vascular changes on lobar microbleeds

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine whether amyloid and hypertensive cerebral small vessel disease (hCSVD) changes synergistically affect the progression of lobar microbleeds in patients with subcortical vascular mild cognitive impairment (svMCI).

Methods:

Among 72 patients with svMCI who underwent brain MRI and [11C] Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)–PET, 52 (72.2%) completed the third year of follow-up. These patients were evaluated by annual neuropsychological testing, brain MRI, and follow-up PiB-PET.

Results:

Over 3 years, 31 of 52 patients (59.6%) had incident cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) in the lobar and deep regions. Both baseline and longitudinal changes in lacune numbers were associated with increased numbers of lobar and deep microbleeds, while baseline and longitudinal changes in PiB uptake ratio were associated only with the progression of lobar microbleeds, especially in the temporal, parietal, and occipital areas. Regional white matter hyperintensity severity was also associated with regional lobar CMBs in the parietal and occipital regions. There were interactive effects between baseline and longitudinal lacune number and PiB retention on lobar microbleed progression. Increased lobar, but not deep, CMBs were associated with decreased scores in the digit span backward task and Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test.

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that amyloid-related pathology and hCSVD have synergistic effects on the progression of lobar microbleeds, providing new clinical insight into the interaction between amyloid burden and hCSVD on CMB progression and cognitive decline with implications for developing effective prevention strategies.

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