Cerebral small vessel diseases (CSVD), such as white matter hyperintensities (WMH), have been acknowledged as a cause of brain atrophy. However, the relationship between brain volumes and cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) has not yet been determined. We aimed to evaluate whether the presence and topography of CMBs are associated with altered volumes of gray matter (GMV) and white matter (WMV). Non-stroke and non-demented subjects were prospectively recruited from the I-Lan Longitudinal Aging Study. High-resolution 3-T MRI was performed to quantify total and regional WMV and GMV, including Alzheimer’s disease-susceptible areas. CMBs were assessed with susceptibility-weighted imaging. Six hundred and fifty-nine subjects (62.1 ± 8.3 years, 290 (44%) men) were included. Thirty-two (4.9%) subjects had strictly lobar CMBs (SL-CMBs) and 51 (7.7%) had deep or infratentorial CMBs (DI-CMBs). We observed an association between CMBs and WMV, independent of age, sex, and vascular risk factors; the direction of association depended on the location of the CMBs. The SL-CMB group had an increased total, frontal, and occipital WMV compared with the no-CMB group, which remained significant after adjusting for other CSVDs (WMH volumes and lacune numbers). In contrast, the DI-CMB group had a decreased occipital WMV compared to the no-CMB group. However, this significance disappeared after taking other CSVDs into consideration. Our results showed no relationship between CMBs and GMV. In conclusion, the increased WMV in non-stroke, non-demented subjects with SL-CMBs observed here provides insight into the early pathogenesis of SL-CMBs. This may be a result of increased water content or amyloid accumulation.
Cerebral microbleeds Brain volume White matter volume
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This study was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan; the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan; and the Veterans Affair Council of Taiwan (Chung: VGH V105C-055; MOST 104-2314-B-075-MY3; LK Chen: MOST 103-2633-B-400-002; MOST 105-3011-B-010-001; Veterans Affair Council of Taiwan 105-X2-2-1; Wang: NSC 101-2314-B-010; NSC 102-2314-B-010-051-MY2; Taipei VGH V104C-059).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (The Institutional Review Board of National Yang Ming University approved the present study) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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