Background and Purpose: The relation between serum total cholesterol levels and stroke is controversial. The Akita Pathology Study provides data on the association of serum total cholesterol, different types of stroke, and distribution of stenosis in cerebral arteries. Methods: The data are based on 750 autopsied men aged 30 years and older who were admitted to a local hospital in northeast Japan between 1966 and 1984. The overall autopsy rate was 88%. The grade of stenosis in the cerebral arteries was determined blindly by one pathologist using Baker’s method for basal cerebral arteries (atherosclerosis scores) and using microscopic examination of a single basal ganglion slide for the intracerebral penetrating arteries (arteriolosclerosis scores). Results: The age-adjusted mean value of serum total cholesterol concentration was 164 mg/dL for cerebral hemorrhage, 177 mg/dL for infarction in penetrating artery regions, and 200 mgldL for infarction in cortical artery regions. Mean serum cholesterol was lower in deaths caused by cerebral hemorrhage than in those caused by myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular disease. Mean atherosclerosis score of basal cerebral arteries was low for cerebral hemorrhage, intermediate for penetrating artery infarction, and high for cortical artery infarction. Stenosis of both basal and penetrating arteries was minimum or absent in cases of cerebral hemorrhage. Only the basal arteries were stenotic in cases of cortical artery infarction, whereas both basal and penetrating arteries were stenosed in cases of penetrating artery infarction. There were positive associations of serum cholesterol with stenosis of basal and penetrating arteries. Among cases of cerebral hemorrhage, serum total cholesterol levels were even lower in men with no significant stenosis in either basal or penetrating arteries than in men with stenosis in either type of artery. Conclusions: The association of serum cholesterol with pathogenesis varies among stroke types. Elevated serum cholesterol levels were associated with the presence of cortical artery infarction, while low serum cholesterol levels were associated with cerebral hemorrhage.
- Cerebral arteries