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Stroke. 2010 Dec;41(12):2782-5. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.593657. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Cerebral microbleeds in the elderly: a pathological analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92868, USA. mfisher@uci.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Cerebral microbleeds in the elderly are routinely identified by brain MRI. The purpose of this study was to better characterize the pathological basis of microbleeds.

METHODS:

We studied postmortem brain specimens of 33 individuals with no clinical history of stroke and with an age range of 71 to 105 years. Cerebral microbleeds were identified by presence of hemosiderin (iron), identified by routine histochemistry and Prussian blue stain. Cellular localization of iron (in macrophages and pericytes) was studied by immunohistochemistry for smooth muscle actin, CD68, and, in selected cases, electron microscopy. Presence of β-amyloid was analyzed using immunohistochemistry for epitope 6E10.

RESULTS:

Cerebral microbleeds were present in 22 cases and occurred at capillary, small artery, and arteriolar levels. Presence of microbleeds occurred independent of amyloid deposition at site of microbleeds. Although most subjects had hypertension, microbleeds were present with and without hypertension. Putamen was the site of microbleeds in all but 1 case; 1 microbleed was in subcortical white matter of occipital lobe. Most capillary microbleeds involved macrophages, but the 2 microbleeds studied by electron microscopy demonstrated pericyte involvement.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate that cerebral microbleeds are common in elderly brain and can occur at the capillary level.

PMID:
21030702
PMCID:
PMC3079284
DOI:
10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.593657
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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