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[Review] Small vessel disease: mechanisms and clinical implications

19:55 EDT 13 May 2019 | The Lancet

Small vessel disease is a disorder of cerebral microvessels that causes white matter hyperintensities and several other common abnormalities (eg, recent small subcortical infarcts and lacunes) seen on brain imaging. Despite being a common cause of stroke and vascular dementia, the underlying pathogenesis is poorly understood. Research in humans has identified several manifestations of cerebral microvessel endothelial dysfunction including blood–brain barrier dysfunction, impaired vasodilation, vessel stiffening, dysfunctional blood flow and interstitial fluid drainage, white matter rarefaction, ischaemia, inflammation, myelin damage, and secondary neurodegeneration.

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