Research Article| Volume 29, ISSUE 4, 104646, April 2020

Vascular Cellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and Memory Impairment in African-Americans after Small Vessel-Type Stroke


      Background: African-Americans (AA) are 3 times more likely to have small-vessel-type ischemic strokes (SVS) than Whites. Small vessel strokes are associated with cognitive impairment, a relationship incompletely explained by white matter hyperintensity (WMH) burden. We examined whether inflammatory/endothelial dysfunction biomarkers are associated with cognition after SVS in AAs. Methods: Biomarkers were obtained in 24 subjects (median age 56.5 years, 54% women, median 12 years education). Cognition was assessed more than 6 weeks poststroke using the memory composite score (MCS), which was generated using recall from the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-II and Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised. A semi-automated, volumetric protocol was used to quantify WMH volume (WMHv) on clinical MRI scans. Potential biomarkers including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interleukin-10, interferon gamma, and thrombin-antithrombin (TAT) were log-transformed and correlated with MCS with adjustment for potential confounders. Results: Among serum biomarkers, only VCAM-1-correlated with poorer memory based on the MCS (r = −.659; P = .0006). VCAM-1 (r = .554; P = .005) and age (r = .479; P = .018) correlated with WMHv; VCAM-1 was independently associated with MCS after adjustment for WMHv, age, and education (P = .023). Conclusions: The findings of this exploratory analysis suggest that endothelial dysfunction and inflammation as reflected by VCAM-1 levels may play a role in poststroke cognitive impairment. Additional studies are needed to validate this observation and to evaluate this relationship in non-AAs and with other stroke types and compare this finding to cognitive impairment in nonstroke populations.

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