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Abstract #1792

Blood-Brain Barrier Imaging as a Biomarker for Cognitive Decline in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lyna Kamintsky1, Steven D Beyea2,3, John D Fisk4,5, Javeria A Hashmi6, Antonina Omisade7, Tim Bardouille8, Chris Bowen2,3, Maher Quraan2,3, Kara A Matheson9, Alon Friedman1,10, and John G Hanly11,12
1Department of Medical Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, 2Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, 3Biomedical Translational Imaging Centre (BIOTIC), QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada, 4Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, 5Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS, Canada, 6Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, 7Acquired Brain Injury (Epilepsy Program), Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS, Canada, 8Department of Physics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, 9Research Methods Unit, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS, Canada, 10Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Medicine, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel, 11QEII Health Sciences Center, Halifax, NS, Canada, 12Department of Medicine and Division of Rheumatology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

This study addresses the need for mechanism-based understanding of cognitive impairment in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Using dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI we identified extensive blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakage in 16 of 46 SLE patients. Extensive BBB leakage was associated with worse overall cognitive performance, affecting primarily information processing speed and executive abilities. Our study provides the first compelling evidence for BBB damage in SLE, and links BBB leakage to cognitive dysfunction. These findings highlight the diagnostic potential of BBB imaging and call for research into BBB-targeting therapies.

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