Association between impaired dynamic cerebral autoregulation and BBB disruption in reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

Yu Hsiang Ling, Nai Fang Chi*, Li Ling Hope Pan, Yen Feng Wang, Chia Hung Wu, Jiing Feng Lirng, Jong Ling Fuh, Shuu Jiun Wang*, Shih Pin Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Half of the sufferers of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) exhibit imaging-proven blood-brain barrier disruption. The pathogenesis of blood-brain barrier disruption in RCVS remains unclear and mechanism-specific intervention is lacking. We speculated that cerebrovascular dysregulation might be associated with blood-brain barrier disruption in RCVS. Hence, we aimed to evaluate whether the dynamic cerebral autoregulation is altered in patients with RCVS and could be associated with blood-brain barrier disruption. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2019 to 2021 at headache clinics of a national tertiary medical center. Dynamic cerebral autoregulation was evaluated in all participants. The capacity of the dynamic cerebral autoregulation to damp the systemic hemodynamic changes, i.e., phase shift and gain between the cerebral blood flow and blood pressure waveforms in the very-low- and low-frequency bands were calculated by transfer function analysis. The mean flow correlation index was also calculated. Patients with RCVS received 3-dimensional isotropic contrast-enhanced T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery imaging to visualize blood-brain barrier disruption. Results: Forty-five patients with RCVS (41.9 ± 9.8 years old, 29 females) and 45 matched healthy controls (41.4 ± 12.5 years old, 29 females) completed the study. Nineteen of the patients had blood-brain barrier disruption. Compared to healthy controls, patients with RCVS had poorer dynamic cerebral autoregulation, indicated by higher gain in very-low-frequency band (left: 1.6 ± 0.7, p = 0.001; right: 1.5 ± 0.7, p = 0.003; healthy controls: 1.1 ± 0.4) and higher mean flow correlation index (left: 0.39 ± 0.20, p = 0.040; right: 0.40 ± 0.18, p = 0.017; healthy controls: 0.31 ± 0.17). Moreover, patients with RCVS with blood-brain barrier disruption had worse dynamic cerebral autoregulation, as compared to those without blood-brain barrier disruption, by having less phase shift in very-low- and low-frequency bands, and higher mean flow correlation index. Conclusions: Dysfunctional dynamic cerebral autoregulation was observed in patients with RCVS, particularly in those with blood-brain barrier disruption. These findings suggest that impaired cerebral autoregulation plays a pivotal role in RCVS pathophysiology and may be relevant to complications associated with blood-brain barrier disruption by impaired capacity of maintaining stable cerebral blood flow under fluctuating blood pressure. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number170
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Breakdown
  • Cerebral autoregulation
  • Dynamic
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome
  • Thunderclap headache
  • Vasospasm

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