The Neurovascular Unit Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease

Luis O Soto-Rojas, Mar Pacheco-Herrero, Paola A Martínez-Gómez, B Berenice Campa-Córdoba, Ricardo Apátiga-Pérez, Marcos M Villegas-Rojas, Charles R Harrington, Fidel de la Cruz, Linda Garcés-Ramírez, José Luna-Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide. Histopathologically, AD presents with two hallmarks: neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), and aggregates of amyloid β peptide (Aβ) both in the brain parenchyma as neuritic plaques, and around blood vessels as cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). According to the vascular hypothesis of AD, vascular risk factors can result in dysregulation of the neurovascular unit (NVU) and hypoxia. Hypoxia may reduce Aβ clearance from the brain and increase its production, leading to both parenchymal and vascular accumulation of Aβ. An increase in Aβ amplifies neuronal dysfunction, NFT formation, and accelerates neurodegeneration, resulting in dementia. In recent decades, therapeutic approaches have attempted to decrease the levels of abnormal Aβ or tau levels in the AD brain. However, several of these approaches have either been associated with an inappropriate immune response triggering inflammation, or have failed to improve cognition. Here, we review the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets associated with dysfunction of the NVU in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2022
Number of pages28
Journal International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (FONDOCyT) from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dominican Republic (2015-3A2-127 to M.P.-H.) and (2018-2019-2A3-208 to J.L.-M. and M.P.-H.).
Acknowledgments: The authors want to express their gratitude to the Mexican families who have donated the brain of their loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease and made our research possible. We also want to express our gratitude to the Union Medical University Clinic, Dominican Republic, for their support and collaboration in developing of this research project. This work is dedicated to
the memory of José Raúl Mena López †.


  • blood-brain barrier
  • astrocytes
  • microglia
  • amyloid peptide
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • tau protein
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Tau protein
  • Astrocytes
  • Amyloid peptide
  • Microglia
  • Alzheimer&#8217
  • s disease


Dive into the research topics of 'The Neurovascular Unit Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this