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New publication in Cerebral Circulation - Cognition and Behavior

Publication date: July 2021

Publication title: "Imaging neurovascular, endothelial and structural integrity in preparation to treat small vessel diseases. The INVESTIGATE-SVDs study protocol. Part of the SVDs@Target project".


Authors: Gordon W. Blair, Michael S. Stringer, Michael J. Thrippleton, Francesca M. Chappell, Kirsten Shuler, Iona Hamilton, Daniela Jaime Garcia, Fergus N. Doubal, Anna Kopczak, Marco Duering, Michael Ingrisch, Danielle Kerkhofs, Julie Staals, Hilde van den Brink, Tine Arts, Walter H Backes, Robert van Oostenbrugge, Geert Jan Biessels, Martin Dichgans, Joanna M. Wardlaw.




Sporadic cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) and cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) share clinical and neuroimaging features and possibly vascular dysfunction(s). However few studies have included both conditions, assessed more than one vascular dysfunction simultaneously, or included more than one centre. The INVESTIGATE-SVDs study will assess several cerebrovascular dysfunctions with MRI in participants with sporadic SVD or CADASIL at three European centres.


We will recruit participants with sporadic SVDs (ischaemic stroke or vascular cognitive impairment) and CADASIL in Edinburgh, Maastricht and Munich. We will perform detailed clinical and neuropsychological phenotyping of the participants, and neuroimaging including structural MRI, cerebrovascular reactivity MRI (CVR: using carbon dioxide challenge), phase contrast MRI (arterial, venous and CSF flow and pulsatility), dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (blood brain barrier (BBB) leakage) and multishell diffusion imaging. Participants will measure their blood pressure (BP) and its variability over seven days using a telemetric device.


INVESTIGATE-SVDs will assess the relationships of BBB integrity, CVR, pulsatility and CSF flow in sporadic SVD and CADASIL using a multisite, multimodal MRI protocol. We aim to establish associations between these measures of vascular function, risk factors particularly BP and its variability, and brain parenchymal lesions in these two SVD phenotypes. Additionally we will test feasibility of complex multisite MRI, provide reliable intermediary outcome measures and sample size estimates for future trials.



Cerebral small vessel disease


Cerebrovascular reactivity

Blood-brain barrier permeability



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