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Neurology. 2013 Nov 5;81(19):1711-8. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000435301.64776.37. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Pulse wave velocity is associated with β-amyloid deposition in the brains of very elderly adults.

Author information

1
From the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health (T.M.H., L.H.K., E.J.M.B.-M., R.H.M.), and the Departments of Neurology (E.M.M., B.E.S., O.L.L.), Psychiatry (W.E.K., H.J.A., A.D.C.), and Radiology (C.A.M.), School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA; and the Office of the Dean and Department of Neurology (S.T.D.), School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine arterial stiffness and β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition in the brain of dementia-free older adults.

METHODS:

We studied a cohort of 91 dementia-free participants aged 83-96 years. In 2009, participants completed brain MRI and PET imaging using Pittsburgh compound B (PiB; a marker of amyloid plaques in human brain). In 2011, we measured resting blood pressure (BP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and arterial stiffness by pulse wave velocity (PWV) in the central, peripheral, and mixed (e.g., brachial ankle PWV [baPWV]) vascular beds, using a noninvasive and automated waveform analyzer.

RESULTS:

A total of 44/91 subjects were Aβ-positive on PET scan. Aβ deposition was associated with mixed PWV, systolic BP, and MAP. One SD increase in baPWV resulted in a 2-fold increase in the odds of being Aβ-positive (p = 0.007). High white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden was associated with increased central PWV, systolic BP, and MAP. Compared to Aβ-negative individuals with low WMH burden, each SD increase in PWV was associated with a 2-fold to 4-fold increase in the odds of being Aβ-positive and having high WMH.

CONCLUSIONS:

Arterial stiffness was associated with Aβ plaque deposition in the brain, independent of BP and APOE ε4 allele. The associations differed by type of brain abnormality and vascular bed measured (e.g., WMH with central stiffness and Aβ deposition and mixed stiffness). Arterial stiffness was highest in individuals with both high Aβ deposition and WMH, which has been suggested to be a "double hit" contributing to the development of symptomatic dementia.

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