Plasma amyloid beta, apolipoprotein E, lacunar infarcts, and white matter lesions.
van Dijk EJ., Prins ND., Vermeer SE., Hofman A., van Duijn CM., Koudstaal PJ., Breteler MMB.
Lacunar brain infarcts and cerebral white matter lesions are frequently observed on magnetic resonance imaging scans in elderly subjects. These lesions are also frequent in patient with cerebral amyloid angiopathy. We examined whether plasma amyloid beta peptide (Abeta) levels are associated with lacunar infarcts and white matter lesions in the general population, and whether the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype modifies these associations. We studied 1,077 participants within the population-based Rotterdam Scan Study, who were 60 to 90 years of age and free of dementia. Cross-sectional associations were analyzed by regression models with adjustments for age, sex, creatinine levels, and hypertension. In APOE epsilon4 carriers, plasma Abeta levels were positively associated with lacunar infarcts and white matter lesions, whereas in noncarriers no associations were observed. Per standard deviation increase in Abeta(1-40) and Abeta(1-42) levels the odds ratios for lacunar infarcts were 1.72 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22-2.43) and 1.93 (95% CI = 1.31-2.85), the periventricular white matter lesion grade increased by 0.32 (95% CI = 0.08-0.57) and 0.29 (95% CI = 0.00-0.57), and the subcortical white matter lesion volume increased by 0.48 ml (95% CI = 0.04-0.91) and 0.24 ml (95% CI = -0.27-0.75). Higher Abeta levels are associated with more lacunar infarcts and white matter lesions in elderly subjects who carry an APOE epsilon4 allele.