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Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is of increasing clinical and research interest as the ability to detect it and its consequences by neuroimaging in living subjects has advanced. There is also increasing interest in understanding its possible role in the development of intracerebral hemorrhage, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia. In this article, the literature on this subject is reviewed and novel findings relating CAA to subcortical white matter damage in 224 subjects in the Oxford project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) are reported. The relationship between CAA and subcortical tissue damage in the OPTIMA subjects was found to be critically dependent on ApoE genotype, there being a positive relationship between measures of CAA and subcortical small vessel disease in ApoEε4 carriers and a significant negative relationship in ApoEε2 carriers. These findings draw attention, as have many other studies, to the importance of ApoE genotype as a major risk factor not only for dementia but also for damage to blood vessels in the aging brain.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Pathol

Publication Date





51 - 62


Alzheimer's disease, ApoE, CAA, cerebral white matter, dementia, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Animals, Apolipoproteins E, Brain, Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy, Dementia, Female, Humans, Leukoencephalopathies, Longitudinal Studies, Male