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Arch Neurol. 1991 Jun;48(6):631-6.

Sclerosing vasculopathy of the central nervous system in nonelderly demented patients.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195.


Three nonelderly patients without hypertension whose clinical and radiologic features otherwise resembled Binswanger's subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy underwent biopsy of the hyperintense periventricular lesions seen on magnetic resonance imaging. The pathologic findings of the periventricular lesions consisted of gliosis with mild rarefaction and edema of the white matter. All patients had a sclerosing vasculopathy of unknown cause, which involved numerous small vessels within the periventricular lesions. The vessels stained negatively for amyloid, amyloid precursors, desmin, vimentin, keratin, immunoglobulin, and complement. On electron microscopy, small arteries, arterioles, venules, and capillaries were characterized by swollen astrocytic foot processes surrounding the vessels; dense, perivascular collagen packing; crystalline arrays of filaments within basement membrane; giant lipid-laden lysosomes within perivascular cells; and narrowing of the vascular lumina. Similar changes were not seen in a control group of 19 patients. The pathologic features of the vessels in these cases are distinct from the vasculopathy associated with Binswanger's subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy. We suggest that a spectrum of vasculopathies may be associated with dementia and periventricular hyperintense lesions on magnetic resonance imaging.

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