What Is Cerebral Vasculitis?
Cerebral vasculitis, also called vasculitis of the central nervous system (CNS), is an autoimune attack against elastin fibers in the walls of arteries that bring blood to the head. Early recogniton may reduce poor outcomes.1
Cerebral vasculitis is characterized by inflammation of large, medium, or small blood vessels which is often segmental with scattered foci (sites) of intense inflammation, and results in necrosis (death) of affected tissues with scarring that occludes, or blocks, blood flow.
Q: What happens when an artery is occluded by scarring?
A: When an artery is occluded by scarring, blood cannot flow through it thus preventing the body tissues it supplies with oxygen and nutrition. Depending on vessels that are affected, blindness, TIA (transient ischemic attack) or stroke may result from blockage or rupture (hemorrhage).
Blood flow through arteries can be seen by angiography procedure. The diagnosis is made by biopsy. Additionally, contrast-enhanced MRI, proven to be sensitive to extradural arteritis, for the identification of intracranial vessel wall inflammation shows that wall thickening and intramural contrast uptake are frequent findings in patients with active cerebral vasculitis affecting large brain arteries.2
Vasculitis may develop with autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, lupus eythematosis and rheumatoid arthritis due to immune complexing, and possibly severe infection and drug sensitivity.
What Is Cerebral Vasculitis In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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Salvarani C, Brown RD Jr, Calamia KT, Christianson TJ, Weigand SD, Miller DV, Giannini C, Meschia JF, Huston J 3rd, Hunder GG. Primary central nervous system vasculitis: analysis of 101 patients. Ann Neurol. 2007 Nov;62(5):442-51. ↩
Küker W, Gaertner S, Nagele T, Dopfer C, Schoning M, Fiehler J, Rothwell PM, Herrlinger U. Vessel wall contrast enhancement: a diagnostic sign of cerebral vasculitis. Cerebrovasc Dis. 2008;26(1):23-9. doi: 10.1159/000135649. Epub 2008 May 30. ↩