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Increased Risk for Cerebral Small Vessel Disease is Associated with Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping in HIV Infected and Uninfected Individuals

By Kyle Douglass Murray, Md Nasir Uddin, Madalina E Tivarus, Bogachan Sahin, Henry Z Wang, Meera V Singh, Xing Qiu, Lu Wang, Pascal Spincemaille, Yi Wang, Jianhui Zhong, Sanjay B Maggirwar, Giovanni Schifitto

Posted 14 Mar 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.13.435243

The aim of this study was to assess in the context of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD), cardiovascular risk factors and white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) were associated with brain tissue susceptibility as measured by quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). Given that CSVD is diagnosed by the presence of lacunar strokes, periventricular and deep WMHs, increased perivascular spaces, and microbleeds, we expected that QSM could capture changes in brain tissue due to underlying CSVD pathology. We compared a cohort of 101 HIV-infected individuals (mean age (SD) = 53.2 (10.9) years) with mild to moderate cardiovascular risk scores, as measured by the Reynold's risk score, to 102 age-matched controls (mean age (SD) = 50.3 (15.7) years) with similar Reynold scores. We performed brain MRI to assess CSVD burden by acquiring 3D T1-MPRAGE, 3D FLAIR, 2D T2-TSE, and mGRE for QSM. We found that signs of CSVD are significantly higher in individuals with HIV-infection compared to controls and that WMH volumes are significantly correlated with age and cardiovascular risk scores. Regional QSM was associated with cardiovascular risk factors, age, sex, and WMH volumes but not HIV status. These results suggest that QSM may be an early imaging marker reflective of alterations in brain microcirculation.

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