Journal Article

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

Neil J. Scolding, Fady Joseph, Patricia A. Kirby, Ingrid Mazanti, Françoise Gray, Jacqueline Mikol, David Ellison, David A. Hilton, Timothy L. Williams, James M. MacKenzie, John H. Xuereb and Seth Love

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 128, issue 3, pages 500-515
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Aβ-related angiitis: primary angiitis of the central nervous system associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy

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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 β peptide (Aβ)-related CAA. Here we describe the clinical, neuroradiological and neuropathological features of nine patients with Aβ-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 Aβ-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. Aβ 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 Aβ. 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 Aβ-immunization-related encephalitis and to Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: Aβ-related angiitis; Alzheimer's disease; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; CNS vasculitis; primary angiitis of the CNS; Aβ = amyloid β peptide; ABRA = Aβ-related angiitis; CAA = cerebral amyloid angiopathy; PACNS = primary angiitis of the CNS

Journal Article.  8113 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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