Supplementary Material for: Cerebral Microbleeds Are Associated with the Progression of Ischemic Vascular Lesions

<b><i>Background:</i></b> Despite their different appearance on imaging, hemorrhagic and ischemic vascular lesions frequently co-occur in the brain and are hypothesized to progress concurrently. Although silent hemorrhagic and ischemic vascular brain lesions are highly prevalent in the general population, the concomitant progression of these lesions has only been studied to a limited extent in this population. We therefore aimed to investigate whether pre-existing and incident cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are related to the progression of ischemic lesions in the general population. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> In the prospective population-based Rotterdam Scan Study, 803 individuals aged ≥60 years underwent magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and after an average interval of 3.4 years. The presence of microbleeds and lacunes was visually rated by trained research physicians, and white matter lesions (WMLs) were automatically segmented at both time points. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association of microbleeds with incident lacunes, and linear regression was used to investigate the relation between microbleeds and progression of WML volume. All analyses were adjusted for age, sex and the time interval between baseline and follow-up scanning. The analyses were repeated after additional adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors: blood pressures; total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; smoking; diabetes mellitus; lipid lowering, antihypertensive and antiplatelet medications, and <i>apolipoprotein E</i> ε4. The analyses involving WMLs were also adjusted for intracranial volume. <b><i>Results:</i></b> We found that pre-existing microbleeds in any location of the brain were related to a higher incidence of lacunes (odds ratio [OR] adjusted for age, sex and scan interval: 4.67; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.84-11.85). Pre-existing microbleeds were not related to progression of WML volume (mean difference in WML volume increase: -0.03; 95% CI: -0.15 to 0.09). Additional adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors did not change the results considerably. Incident microbleeds in any location of the brain were associated with a higher incidence of lacunes (OR: 9.18; 95% CI: 3.61-23.35), whereas only incident microbleeds located in cortico-subcortical regions were related to progression of WML volume (mean difference in WML volume increase: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.21-0.62). Again, adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors did not change the results significantly. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> Our findings suggest that in the general population, CMBs serve as a predictor of ischemic brain lesions and may represent an imaging marker of active vasculopathy. These results support the hypothesis of a common underlying pathway in the development of ischemic and hemorrhagic brain lesions.