Perivascular iron deposition and other vascular damage in multiple sclerosis.
Evidence of damage to cerebral vein walls was sought in 70 cases of multiple sclerosis. Seventy control cases were also examined. The multiple sclerosis cases showed venous intramural fibrinoid deposition (7%), recent haemorrhages (17%), old haemorrhages revealed by haemosiderin deposition (30%), thrombosis (6%) and thickened veins (19%). In all, 41% of all multiple sclerosis cases showed some evidence of vein damage. Occasional control cases showed haemosiderin deposition in the brain but, unlike the multiple sclerosis cases, these were diffuse and almost entirely related to coexistent cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Haemosiderin deposition was common in the substantia nigra and other pigmented nuclei in all cases. It is concluded that the cerebral vein wall in multiple sclerosis is subject to chronic inflammatory damage, which promotes haemorrhage and increased permeability, and constitutes a form of vasculitis.