There is a causal association of blood pressure traits and cerebral small vessel disease imaging characteristics


  • Genetic predisposition to elevated diastolic blood pressure and higher body mass index is linked to a greater burden of cerebral small vessel disease.

Why this matters

  • Although cardiovascular risk factors have been implicated in the etiology of cerebral small vessel disease in observational studies, the causal relationship remains unknown. This Mendelian randomization study used data from large scale genome-wide association studies of European ancestry and found a potential causal association between blood pressure and cerebral small vessel disease features.

  • The findings suggest that optimal management of cardiovascular risk factors, particularly diastolic blood pressure and body mass index, could reduce the burden of stroke and dementia, which are the major consequences of cerebral small vessel disease.