Dynamic changes in glymphatic function in reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

Chia Hung Wu, Yu Kuo, Yu Hsiang Ling, Yen Feng Wang, Jong Ling Fuh, Jiing Feng Lirng, Hsiu Mei Wu, Shuu Jiun Wang*, Shih Pin Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The pathophysiology of the reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) remains enigmatic and the role of glymphatics in RCVS pathophysiology has not been evaluated. We aimed to investigate RCVS glymphatic dynamics and its clinical correlates. Methods: We prospectively evaluated the glymphatic function in RCVS patients, with RCVS subjects and healthy controls (HCs) recruited between August 2020 and November 2023, by calculating diffusion-tensor imaging along the perivascular space (DTI-ALPS) index under a 3-T MRI. Clinical and vascular (transcranial color-coded duplex sonography) investigations were conducted in RCVS subjects. RCVS participants were separated into acute (≤ 30 days) and remission (≥ 90 days) groups by disease onset to MRI interval. The time-trend, acute stage and longitudinal analyses of the DTI-ALPS index were conducted. Correlations between DTI-ALPS index and vascular and clinical parameters were performed. Bonferroni correction was applied to vascular investigations (q = 0.05/11). Results: A total of 138 RCVS patients (mean age, 46.8 years ± 11.8; 128 women) and 42 HCs (mean age, 46.0 years ± 4.5; 35 women) were evaluated. Acute RCVS demonstrated lower DTI-ALPS index than HCs (p < 0.001) and remission RCVS (p < 0.001). A continuously increasing DTI-ALPS trend after disease onset was demonstrated. The DTI-ALPS was lower when the internal carotid arteries resistance index and six-item Headache Impact test scores were higher. In contrast, during 50–100 days after disease onset, the DTI-ALPS index was higher when the middle cerebral artery flow velocity was higher. Conclusions: Glymphatic function in patients with RCVS exhibited a unique dynamic evolution that was temporally coupled to different vascular indices and headache-related disabilities along the disease course. These findings may provide novel insights into the complex interactions between glymphatic transport, vasomotor control and pain modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Diffusion-tensor imaging along the perivascular space (DTI-ALPS) index
  • Glymphatics
  • Healthy controls (HCs)
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)
  • The six-item Headache Impact Test (HIT-6)
  • Transcranial color-coded duplex sonography (TCCS)


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