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Milestone 2.Q

AD Related Dementias – Specific

Foster basic science research on neurovascular unit function and how it is impacted by the following: aging, cardiovascular disease, AD pathology and genetics.


Success Criteria

  • Support at least two new basic science research projects designed to understand the role of the perivascular (CSF) and paravascular (lymphatic) clearance pathways in normal brain health and whether these systems help protect the brain from VCID and other AD/ADRD dementias, as well as their progression.
  • Support new research to determine: (i) how the neurovascular unit contributes to neurovascular coupling, i.e. regulation of brain blood flow across different vascular zones (arterioles, capillaries and venules), (ii) how normal neurovascular unit function is impacted by VCID risk factors (e.g. cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, metabolic factors, lifestyle factors, hypertension, TBI, AD/ADRD pathology and genetics, and aging), and by other AD/ADRD disorders, (iii) the relationship between blood brain barrier function and neurovascular unit function in health and in AD/ADRD.

Summary of Key Accomplishments

Several recent NIH studies have resulted in significant new understanding of the inter-relationship between brain cells and their blood vessels, known collectively as the "neurovascular unit", and how they are impacted in AD/ADRD. For example, in 2019, one of these studies reported that brain waste clearance pathways, also known as perivascular “glymphatic pathways”, not only contribute to the removal of beta-amyloid from the brain but are compromised by long term hypertension in rats – a clear example of interaction between hypertension and brain waste clearance mechanisms that may result in increased risk for different types of dementia. This emerging body of work has resulted in a new hypothesis of how hypertension can lead to dementia-related brain changes, opening up new avenues of investigation and potential drug targets for future research.

This information is current as of July 2022.


Research Implementation Area
AD Related Dementias - Specific
Timeline
2016–2023
Status
In Progress

Accomplishments/Implementation Activities

Funding Initiatives

Research Programs and Resources

Relevant Recommendations

nia.nih.gov

An official website of the National Institutes of Health