Microvascular pathology and vascular basement membrane components in Alzheimer's disease
- Cite this article as:
- Perlmutter, L.S. Mol Neurobiol (1994) 9: 33. doi:10.1007/BF02816103
Several factors have highlighted the vasculature in Alzheimer's disease (AD): Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is common, amyloid fibrils emanate from the vascular basement membrane (VBM), and similar forms of β-amyloid are found in vascular and parenchymal amyloid accumulations. The present article discusses the presence of microvascular pathology in AD. Microangiopathy, in addition to neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques, and CAA, is a common pathologic hallmark of AD. VBM components are associated with amyloid plaques, and nonamyloidotic alterations of the VBM occur in brain regions susceptible to AD lesions. Also, intra-VBM perivascular cells (traditionally called pericytes), a subset of which share the immunophenotype of microglia and other mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS) cells, have been implicated in vascular alterations and cerebrovascular amyloid deposition. Perivascular and parenchymal MPS cells have access to several sources of the β-amyloid protein precursor, including platelets, circulating white cells, and neurons. MPS cells would thus be ideally situated to uptake and process the precursor, and deposit β-amyloid in a fashion analogous to that seen in other forms of systemic and cerebral amyloidoses.