Detecting Leaky Vessels in Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy

Whitney Freeze, PhD Leiden University Medical Center


Louise van der Weerd, PhD
Susanne van Veluw, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Boston


We will use MRI and microscopy to detect subtle vessel fragility in patients who are at risk for large brain bleeds. Aim 1: We will assess subtle blood-brain barrier leakage with MRI in patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy compared to a control group, and test whether this type of vessel fragility is associated with small brain bleeds. Aim 2: We will examine brain tissue of donor patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy to examine blood vessel changes that are associated with blood-brain barrier leakage and small bleeds in great detail.

Project Details

Although animal studies suggest that brain bleeds in cerebral amyloid angiopathy are the result of vessel wall breakdown, this has never been explored in living humans. With state-of-the art MRI techniques we will now be able to determine, for the first time, whether there is an association between subtle brain bleeds and vessel wall fragility.Cerebral amyloid angiopathy refers to deposition of the amyloid-beta protein in blood vessels in the brain, and is very common in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings in this project will be of pivotal importance to the field of dementia as they will not only improve our understanding of the formation of brain bleeds in patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy, but also potentially allow for the identification of individuals who are at risk for future bleeding, thereby offering an opportunity for timely intervention.