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VCID Basic Research: Role of the neurovascular unit (Milestone 2.Q)

AD-Related Dementias Focus

Study the neurovascular unit structure and function to establish how it is impacted by VCID. 


Success Criteria

  • At least two new projects to understand the role of perivascular and paravascular clearance pathways that may protect the brain from VCID. 
  • At least three new projects to determine how normal neurovascular unit function and blood brain barrier function are impacted by VCID risk factors. 

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.

The key accomplishments summary is current as of July 2022.  


Research Implementation Area
Research on Disease Mechanisms
Timeline
2016–2026
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