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Immune regulation and blood-brain barrier permeability in cerebral small vessel disease: study protocol of the INflammation and Small Vessel Disease (INSVD) study - a multicentre prospective cohort study.

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INTRODUCTION: The INflammation and Small Vessel Disease (INSVD) study aims to investigate whether peripheral inflammation, immune (dys)regulation and blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability relate to disease progression in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). This research aims to pinpoint specific components of the immune response in SVD relating to disease progression. This could identify biomarkers of SVD progression, as well as potential therapeutic targets to inform the development and repurposing of drugs to reduce or prevent SVD, cognitive decline and vascular dementia. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: INSVD is a prospective observational multicentre cohort study in individuals with symptomatic SVD. This longitudinal study combines comprehensive immunophenotyping of the peripheral blood immune compartment with advanced neuroimaging markers of SVD and BBB permeability. The main SVD marker of interest is white matter microstructure as determined by diffusion tensor imaging, a valuable marker of disease progression owing to its sensitivity to early alterations to white matter integrity. The research is being conducted in two sites-in the UK (Cambridge) and the Netherlands (Nijmegen)-with each site recruiting 100 participants (total n=200). Participants undergo clinical and cognitive assessments, blood draws, and brain MRI at baseline and 2-year follow-up. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study received ethical approval from the local ethics boards (UK: East of England-Cambridge Central Research Ethics Committee (REC) ref: 22/EE/00141, Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) ID: 312 747. Netherlands: Medical Research Ethics Committee (MREC) Oost-Nederland, ref: 2022-13623, NL-number: NL80258.091.22). Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects before the study. Any participant-derived benefits resulting from this research, such as new insights into disease mechanisms or possible novel therapies, will be disseminated to study participants, patient groups and members of the public. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT05746221.


Peer reviewed: True

Acknowledgements: The University of Minnesota Center for Magnetic Resonance Research provided us with the pulse sequence software for DTI, which is gratefully acknowledged. We thank our research volunteers for their participation.


Aged, IMMUNOLOGY, Magnetic resonance imaging, Old age psychiatry, Stroke, Humans, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Blood-Brain Barrier, Longitudinal Studies, Cohort Studies, Prospective Studies, Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Inflammation, Disease Progression, Observational Studies as Topic, Multicenter Studies as Topic

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BMJ Open

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British Heart Foundation (SP/F/22/150028)
British Heart Foundation (RE/18/1/34212)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
The project is funded by a joint grant from the British Heart Foundation and Dutch Heart Foundation (ref: SP/F/22/150028) and jointly sponsored by the Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust and the University of Cambridge in the UK, and the Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.