Perivascular spaces are associated with atherosclerosis: An insight from the northern manhattan study

J. Gutierrez, T. Rundek, M. S.V. Ekind, R. L. Sacco, C. B. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Perivascular spaces are potential spaces found between brain blood vessels and surrounding leptomeninges that have been associated with cardiovascular risk factors and dementia, but less is known about their relationship to atherosclerosis. We tested the hypothesis that perivascular spaces are associated with atherosclerosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants from the Northern Manhattan Study who remained stroke-free were invited to participate in an MR imaging substudy. Parenchymal hypointensities of <3 mm identified on brain axial T1-weighted MR imaging were scored as perivascular spaces. A semiquantitative score was created to express the degree of brain involvement. Generalized linear models were used to assess statistical associations with carotid plaque as a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. RESULTS: The studied sample included 706 participants (mean age, 72.6 ± 8.0 years; 60% women, 61% Hispanic, 68% with hypertension, 19% with diabetes, and 57% with high cholesterol). The perivascular spaces score ranged from 0 to 19 with 52% of the sample having a perivascular spaces score of ≤4. In unadjusted analysis, perivascular spaces were associated with age (β = 0.01 per year, P = <.001), non-Hispanic black race-ethnicity (β = 0.16, P =.02), hypertension (β = 0.24, P = <.001), and carotid plaque (β = 0.22, P <.001). In multivariable analysis, only age (β = 0.01, P =.02), hypertension (β = 0.17, P =.01), and carotid plaque (β = 0.22, P = <.001) remained independently associated with perivascular spaces. CONCLUSIONS: Perivascular spaces were more frequently found in older participants, in those with hypertension, and in the presence of carotid plaque. These results suggest that mechanisms leading to atherosclerosis might also lead to an increased number of perivascular spaces. These results need confirmation in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1716
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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