Institute of Neuroscience

Influence of cortical neurodegenerative pathology

The Influence of cortical neurodegenerative pathology on white matter integrity

White matter lesions (WML) are assumed to indicate underlying small vessel disease (SVD). However, an axonal degeneration mechanism termed Wallerian-like degeneration (WLD) that is associated with neurodegeneration has been suggested to contribute to WML pathogenesis. Indeed, we found 35% of post mortem brains (n=60) to present with severe WML, no SVD but severe neocortical tau pathology.

In order to further elucidate the relationship between cortical neurodegenerative pathology and WML we will use post mortem brains (n=100) to assess:

  • axonal pathology, ischemia and distribution of cellular subtypes in the white matter
  • quantities of cortical neurodegenerative pathology
  • small vessel disease
  • WML on both ante and post-mortem MRI images

Our results will help clinical decision making in terms of deciding whether WML in a patient are related to vascular or neurodegenerative pathology and ensure that patients receive the most appropriate treatment for their condition.

Newcastle University staff and students linked to the project

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