Another cause of senile dementia revealed… Is it due to an increase in the volume of the ‘contextual plexus’ in the brain?

A study found that the larger the volume of the choroidal plexus in the brain, which was imaged with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the lower the cognitive function, such as memory, self-control, and planning, and the greater the risk of senile dementia (Alzheimer’s).

The ‘choroid plexus’ is a network of blood vessels and cells found in the cerebral ventricle, which forms a barrier between blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

A team led by Professor Wonjin Moon of the Department of Radiology at Konkuk University Hospital collected and analyzed 3-Tesla brain MRI images of 532 patients with significant cognitive decline. Among the participants, 147 had Alzheimer’s disease, and 132 patients obtained transmittance images using dynamic contrast-enhanced imaging (DEC imaging).

As a result of the study, it was confirmed that the volume of the choroid plexus in the brain on MRI in Alzheimer’s disease patients was related to the degree of cognitive impairment.

The volume of the choroid plexus in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease was larger than that of normal people, and the larger the volume, the lowered the executive function responsible for memory, self-control, and memory.

In addition, it was confirmed that the permeability of the choroidal plexus in the brain was lower in Alzheimer’s disease patients than in mild cognitive impairment.

The choroid plexus acts as a kind of gateway for immune cells from the blood to the brain. It is a place that produces cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and removes waste products and toxic proteins from brain cells.

Unlike blood vessels in the brain, the blood vessels in the choroid plexus do not have a ‘blood-brain barrier (BBB), so they supply nutrients to the brain, and waste products and toxic proteins are discharged to the outside to serve as a channel for cleaning.

Professor Wonjin Moon said, “Currently, academics believe that the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is a clearance disorder involving the choroid plexus rather than an overproduction of ‘Amyloid-β’ and ‘tau protein,’ a component of microtubules in neurons. “There is a possibility that choroidal abnormalities cause protein clearance, which leads to accumulation of waste and toxic proteins in the brain, and may cause neuroinflammation by causing immune disorders.”

Professor Moon explained, “With this study, it was not possible to know how the degree of amyloid-beta protein deposition was specifically related to the choroidal plexus volume, but it was able to clearly reveal that the choroidal plexus volume is independently related to the degree of cognitive impairment.”

In addition, this study is expected to help develop new targeted therapeutics for cleaning disorders and neuroinflammation.

Professor Wonjin Moon said, “If the choroidal plexus volume and hippocampal volume are evaluated together in the screening stage, it will be possible to distinguish between ‘more vulnerable patients’ and ‘less vulnerable patients’ to Alzheimer’s disease. “We are planning a longitudinal study to see how it changes.”

The research results were recently published in the online edition of ‘Radiology’, a journal of scientific and technological thesis index (SCI) in the field of radiology.

Kwon Dae-ik medical journalist




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