DOI: 10.1002/alz.081752 ISSN: 1552-5260

APOE4 Carriers with Perivascular Spaces Exhibit Altered Cerebral Blood Flow

Arunima Kapoor, Shubir Dutt, John Paul M Alitin, Jung Yun Jang, Aimée Gaubert, Amy Nguyen, Isabel J Sible, Anisa J Marshall, Fatemah Shenasa, Allie Engstrom, David Bradford, Kathleen E. Rodgers, Xingfeng Shao, Danny J.J. Wang, Daniel A. Nation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Perivascular spaces (PVS) are fluid‐filled spaces surrounding arterioles, capillaries and venules in the brain, which support metabolic waste clearance. Enlarged PVS are associated with increased dementia risk. Changes in arterial pulsatility are hypothesized to be associated with accumulation of toxic solutes and PVS widening. However, few prior studies have examined whether cerebral blood flow (CBF) is linked to PVS.


Independently living older adults (N = 60, mean age = 68.1 years; SD = 7.5; age range 55‐88 years; 30.0% male) free of dementia or clinical stroke were recruited from the community and underwent brain MRI and venipuncture. Pseudo‐continuous arterial spin labeling was utilized to determine CBF in gray matter CBF (mL/100g tissue/min). Regional mean values were determined for regions of interest. PVS were qualitatively scored in the basal ganglia (BG), and centrum semiovale (CS). APOE genotyping was conducted on the blood cell pellet fraction.


After accounting for age and sex, multiple linear regression analysis revealed a significant negative association between BG‐PVS and CBF in the left inferior occipital gyrus (B = ‐.07, 95% CI (‐.13, ‐.01), p = .022), right inferior occipital gyrus (B = ‐.06, 95% CI (‐.12, ‐.001), p = .048), left middle occipital gyrus (B = ‐.05, 95% CI (‐.10, ‐.001), p = .047), right middle occipital gyrus (B = ‐.08, 95% CI (‐.13, ‐.02), p = .007), and right inferior temporal gyrus (B = ‐.05, 95% CI (‐.09, ‐.01), p = .025) as well as a positive association in the left precuneus (B = .05, 95% CI (.01, .08), p = .022). When stratified by APOE4 status, all associations were significant only in APOE4 carriers. CS‐PVS were not associated with CBF.


These findings indicate altered CBF in older adults with BG‐PVS but not CS‐PVS. Resting CBF was altered in specific brain regions, predominantly in APOE4 carriers. APOE4 is known to convey both vascular risk and risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Additional longitudinal studies are warranted to explore the association between PVS and CBF in individuals at risk for dementia to further understand vascular contributions to the development of AD and other dementias.

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