Jefferies Lab

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Cognitive decline leading to dementia, accompanied by the accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) in neuritic plaques together with the appearance of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein (tau), are previously noted hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We previously discovered hypervascularity in brain specimens from AD patients and consistent with this observation, we demonstrated that overexpression of Aβ drives cerebrovascular neoangiogenesis leading to hypervascularity and coincident tight-junction disruption and blood-brain barrier (BBB) leakiness in animal models of AD. We subsequently demonstrated that amyloid plaque burden and cerebrovascular pathogenesis subside when pro-angiogenic Aβ levels are reduced. Based on these data, we propose a paradigm of AD etiology where, as a compensatory response to impaired cerebral blood flow (CBF), Aβ triggers pathogenic cerebrovascular neoangiogenesis that underlies the conventional hallmarks of AD. Consequently, here we present evidence that repurposing anti-cancer drugs to modulate cerebrovascular neoangiogenesis, rather than directly targeting the amyloid cascade, may provide an effective treatment for AD and related vascular diseases of the brain.