Blood-brain barrier damage in vascular dementia

Neuropathology. 2016 Apr;36(2):115-24. doi: 10.1111/neup.12262. Epub 2015 Nov 26.


New findings on flow or drainage pathways of brain interstitial fluid and cerebrospinal fluid have been made. The interstitial fluid flow has an effect on the passage of blood-borne substances in the brain parenchyma, especially in areas near blood-brain barrier (BBB)-free regions. Actually, blood-borne substances can be transferred in areas with intact BBB function, such as the hippocampus, the corpus callosum, periventricular areas, and medial portions of the amygdala, presumably through leaky vessels in the subfornical organs or the choroid plexus. Increasing evidence indicates that dysfunction of the BBB function may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of vascular dementia. Accordingly, we have examined which insults seen in patients suffering from vascular dementia have an effect on the BBB using experimental animal models exhibiting some phenotypes of vascular dementia. The BBB in the hippocampus was clearly deteriorated in Mongolian gerbils exposed to acute ischemia followed by reperfusion and also in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) showing hypertension. The BBB in the corpus callosum was clearly deteriorated in Wistar rats with permanent ligation of the bilateral common carotid arteries showing chronic hypoperfusion. The BBB in the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb was mildly deteriorated in aged senescence accelerated prone mice (SAMP8) showing cognitive dysfunction. The BBB in the hippocampus was mildly deteriorated in aged animals with hydrocephalus. Mild endothelial damage was seen in hyperglycemic db/db mice. In addition, mRNA expression of osteopontin, matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), and CD36 was increased in vessels showing BBB damage in hypertensive SHRSP. As osteopontin, MMP-13 and CD36 are known to be related to brain injury and amyloid β accumulation or clearance, BBB damage followed by increased gene expression of these molecules not only contributes to the pathogenesis of vascular dementia, but also bridges the gap between vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: BBB; CD36; MMP-13; osteopontin; vascular dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans