Angiopoietin like-4 as a novel vascular mediator in capillary cerebral amyloid angiopathy

Brain. 2018 Dec 1;141(12):3377-3388. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy274.


Increasing evidence suggests that vascular dysfunction in the brain is associated with early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid-β deposition in the microvasculature of the brain, a process referred to as capillary cerebral amyloid angiopathy (capillary CAA), propagates vascular remodelling, which results in impaired function of the blood-brain barrier, reduced cerebral perfusion and increased hypoxia. While improving vascular function may be an attractive new way to fight capillary CAA, the underlying factors that mediate vascular alterations in Alzheimer's disease and capillary CAA pathogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we provide first evidence that angiopoietin like-4 (ANGPTL4), a hypoxia-induced factor, is highly expressed by reactive astrocytes in well characterized post-mortem tissues of patients with capillary CAA. Our in vitro studies reveal that ANGPTL4 is upregulated and secreted by human cortical astrocytes under hypoxic conditions and in turn stimulates endothelial cell migration and sprouting in a 3D spheroid model of human brain endothelial cells. Interestingly, plasma levels of ANGPTL4 are significantly increased in patients with vascular dementia compared to patients with subjective memory complaints. Overall, our data suggest that ANGPTL4 contributes to pathological vascular remodelling in capillary CAA and that detection of ANGPTL4 levels may improve current diagnostics. Ways of counteracting the detrimental effects of ANGPTL4 and thus promoting cerebral vascular function may provide novel treatment regimens to halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiopoietin-Like Protein 4 / metabolism*
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Movement
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microvessels / pathology
  • Vascular Remodeling


  • ANGPTL4 protein, human
  • Angiopoietin-Like Protein 4