Characteristic clinical presentation and CSF biomarker pattern in cerebral small vessel disease

  • Anders Wallin
    Corresponding author at: Institute of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Wallinsgatan 6B, Plan 4B, SE‐43141 Mölndal, Sweden. Tel.: +46 313 438 720.
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Mölndal, Sweden
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  • Annika Öhrfelt
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Mölndal, Sweden
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  • Maria Bjerke
    Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Mölndal, Sweden
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Published:August 23, 2012DOI:


      To be able to live a good, independent life cognitive functions need to be intact. Dementia, stroke and neuropsychiatric disorders are the major disorders underlying disability. Stroke is usually a consequence of an underlying vessel wall disease that has lasted for a longer period. This vessel wall disease is commonly silent or without prominent symptoms. Damage to the small penetrating arterioles of the brain, arteriolosclerosis, induced by aging and hypertension, as well as other factors such as diabetes and genetic vulnerability, plays an important role in the origin of white matter changes. The pathological vascular wall process leads to lumen constriction, impaired ability to change lumen diameter according to metabolic needs and possible ischemic–hypoxic tissue damage in the vulnerable vascular architectural terminal areas of the long penetrating arteries. The arteriolosclerotic blood vessels are associated with inflammation and remodelling of the extracellular matrix. Enzymes connected to this process have also been found to be involved in demyelination and blood brain barrier opening but also in the repair process of angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Biochemical changes reflecting these processes might be early indicators of small vessel disease and hence increase the knowledge about the disease characteristic mechanisms. Moreover, monitoring disease modifying treatment effects can be an important application for small vessel disease specific biochemical markers.


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