Interplay between brain endothelial cells and pericytes in brain health and disease

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Axel Montagne

    University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Project summary

An emerging role of brain vasculature in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD), has led to increasingly recognized importance of healthy blood vessels for normal brain functioning. Other groups and I recently found that early features of dementia include an excessive inflammation of brain vessels and a loss of their integrity partly due to damage to pericytes. Pericytes are important cells wrapping around the smallest brain vessels which die early in AD and other neurological disorders. My project aims to probe the consequences of vascular inflammation on pericyte functions, plus reciprocal feedback by dysfunctional pericytes using novel animal models, cutting-edge live imaging technologies, advanced molecular biology techniques, and cell culture systems. We will identify the specific factors which injure brain vessels and define whether therapeutically targeting them can protect neuronal and cognitive functions, which would be of clinical relevance in several brain disorders including dementias.