Age-dependent expression of VEGFR2 in deep brain arteries in small vessel disease, CADASIL, and healthy brains

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Ahmed-Jushuf, F ; Jiwa, NS ; Arwani, AS ; Foot, P ; Bridges, LR ; Kalaria, RN ; Esiri, MM ; Hainsworth, AH (2016)

Vascular myocytes are central to brain aging. Small vessel disease (SVD; arteriolosclerosis)\ud is a widespread cause of lacunar stroke and vascular dementia, and is characterised by\ud fibrosis and depletion of vascular myocytes in small penetrating arteries. Vascular\ud endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is associated with brain aging, and VEGFR2 is a potent\ud determinant of cell fate. Here, we tested whether VEGFR2 in vascular myocytes is\ud associated with older age and SVD in human brain.\ud VEGFR2 immunolabelling in deep grey matter was assessed in older people with or without\ud moderate-severe SVD, or in younger people without brain pathology or with a monogenic\ud form of SVD (CADASIL). All cases were without Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Myocyte\ud VEGFR2 was associated with increasing age (p=0.0026) but not with SVD pathology or\ud with sclerotic index or blood vessel density. We conclude that VEGFR2 is consistently\ud expressed in small artery myocytes of older people, and may mediate effects of VEGF on\ud brain vascular aging.
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