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A beta-related angiitis: primary angiitis of the central nervous system associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Ellison, Dr Timothy Williams


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Idiopathic or primary angiitis of the CNS (PACNS) and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) are unusual vasculopathies generally regarded as unrelated disorders. A few case reports have, however, described granulomatous angiitis in patients with sporadic, amyloid beta peptide (Abeta)-related CAA. Here we describe the clinical, neuroradiological and neuropathological features of nine patients with Abeta-related angiitis (ABRA). Combining these with the individual case reports drawn from the literature has allowed us to define ABRA as a clinical entity and to compare its features with those of PACNS. The mean age of presentation of ABRA (67 years) is higher than that of PACNS but lower than that of sporadic non-inflammatory Abeta-related CAA. Alterations in mental status (59%), headaches (35%), seizures and focal neurological deficits (24%) are common. Hallucinations are a presenting manifestation in 12% of cases. Most patients have white matter hyperintensities on MRI but these are of similar appearance to those in PACNS. Cerebrospinal fluid usually shows modest elevation of protein and pleocytosis. Neuropathology reveals angiodestructive inflammation, often granulomatous, and meningeal lymphocytosis. Abeta is consistently present in abundance in affected blood vessels but usually scanty within the parenchyma of the cerebral cortex. However, the cortex includes numerous activated microglia, occasionally in a plaque-like distribution and containing cytoplasmic Abeta. The cerebral white matter shows patchy gliosis and rarefaction, in some cases marked. Our findings (i) help to dissect one separate clinicopathological entity from what is likely to be a spectrum of primary angiitides of the CNS; (ii) have important therapeutic implications for one category of patients with amyloid-related vasculopathy; and (iii) may provide valuable insights into the development of amyloid-associated inflammation, of relevance not only to ABRA but also to Abeta-immunization-related encephalitis and to Alzheimer's disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scolding NJ, Joseph F, Kirby PA, Mazanti I, Gray F, Mikol J, Ellison D, Hilton DA, Williams TL, MacKenzie JM, Xuereb JH, Love S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Brain

Year: 2005

Volume: 128

Issue: 3

Pages: 500-515

ISSN (print): 0006-8950

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2156

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/brain/awh379


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