Cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) is considered to be caused by an increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier and results in enlargement of Virchow Robin spaces (VRs), white matter lesions, brain microbleeds, and lacunar infarcts. The increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier may relate to endothelial cell activation and activated monocytes/macrophages. Therefore, we hypothesized that plasma markers of endothelial activation (adhesion molecules) and monocyte/macrophage activation (neopterin) relate to CSVD manifestations. In 163 first-ever lacunar stroke patients and 183 essential hypertensive patients, we assessed CSVD manifestations on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), neopterin, as well as circulating soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, sE-selectin, sP-selectin). Neopterin, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 levels were higher in patients with extensive CSVD manifestations than in those without (p <0.01). Neopterin levels independently related to higher numbers of enlarged Virchow Robin spaces (p <0.001). An inflammatory process with activated monocytes/macrophages may play a role in the increased permeability of the blood brain barrier in patients with CSVD.
- Lacunar infarcts
- White matter lesions
- Adhesion molecules
- Cerebral small vessel disease