Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, and the β-amyloid cascade

Kie Honjo, Sandra E Black, Nicolaas P L G Verhoeff
Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. le Journal Canadien des Sciences Neurologiques 2012, 39 (6): 712-28
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), considered the commonest neurodegenerative cause of dementia, is associated with hallmark pathologies including extracellular amyloid-β protein (Aβ) deposition in extracellular senile plaques and vessels, and intraneuronal tau deposition as neurofibrillary tangles. Although AD is usually categorized as neurodegeneration distinct from cerebrovascular disease (CVD), studies have shown strong links between AD and CVD. There is evidence that vascular risk factors and CVD may accelerate Aβ 40-42 production/ aggregation/deposition and contribute to the pathology and symptomatology of AD. Aβ deposited along vessels also causes cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Amyloid imaging allows in vivo detection of AD pathology, opening the way for prevention and early treatment, if disease-modifying therapies in the pipeline show safety and efficacy. In this review, we review the role of vascular factors and Aβ, underlining that vascular risk factor management may be important for AD prevention and treatment.

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