Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

White matter capillaries in vascular and neurodegenerative dementias

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yoshiki HaseORCiD, Dr Ren Ding, Sean Gettings, William Stevenson, Dr Lucinda Craggs, Professor Raj KalariaORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Previous studies suggest white matter (WM) integrity is vulnerable to chronic hypoperfusion during brain ageing. We assessed ~ 0.7 million capillary profiles in the frontal lobe WM across several dementias comprising Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease with dementia, vascular dementia, mixed dementias, post-stroke dementia as well as post-stroke no dementia and similar age ageing and young controls without significant brain pathology. Standard histopathological methods were used to determine microvascular pathology and capillary width and densities in 153 subjects using markers of the basement membrane (collagen IV; COL4) and endothelium (glucose transporter-1; GLUT-1). Variable microvascular pathology including coiled, tortuous, collapsed and degenerated capillaries as well as occasional microaneurysms was present in all dementias. As expected, WM microvascular densities were 20-49% lower than in the overlying cortex. This differential in density between WM and cortex was clearly demonstrated by COL4, which was highly correlated with GLUT-1 densities (Spearman's rho = 0.79, P = 0.000). WM COL4 immunopositive microvascular densities were decreased by ~ 18% across the neurodegenerative dementias. However, we found WM COL4 densities were increased by ~ 57% in post-stroke dementia versus ageing and young controls and other dementias. Using three different methods to measure capillary diameters, we found WM capillaries to be significantly wider by 19-45% compared to those in overlying neocortex apparent with both COL4 and GLUT-1. Remarkably, WM capillary widths were increased by ~ 20% across all dementias compared to ageing and young controls (P < 0.01). We also noted mean WM pathology scores incorporating myelin loss, arteriolosclerosis and perivascular spacing were correlated with COL4 immunopositive capillary widths (Pearson's r = 0.71, P = 0.032). Our key finding indicates that WM capillaries are wider compared to those in the overlying neocortex in controls but they dilate further during dementia pathogenesis. We suggest capillaries undergo restructuring in the deep WM in different dementias. This reflects compensatory changes to retain WM perfusion and integrity during hypoperfusive states in ageing-related dementias.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hase Y, Ding R, Harrison G, Hawthorne E, King A, Gettings S, Platten C, Stevenson W, Craggs LJL, Kalaria RN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Acta Neuropathologica Communications

Year: 2019

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 07/02/2019

Acceptance date: 25/01/2019

Date deposited: 25/02/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2051-5960

Publisher: BMC


DOI: 10.1186/s40478-019-0666-x

PubMed id: 30732655


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name