What will you be work­ing on next in your own re­search projects and at Brack­o­lab? [Oliver]


The vas­cu­lar net­work and brain blood flow are both cru­cial to sup­ply the brain with oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents to ex­ert proper func­tion, and the aim of my lab at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami will be to un­der­stand this con­cept in the con­text of neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive disease.

One line of re­search will elu­ci­date com­mon and spe­cific mech­a­nisms of vas­cu­lar dys­func­tion and cog­ni­tive de­cline in neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive disease. Specif­i­cally, I am in­ter­ested if brain blood flow re­duc­tions also con­trib­ute to other forms of de­men­tia, such as Fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tia, and – if ac­cu­rate – if the un­der­ly­ing mech­a­nism is cap­il­lary stalling or if ad­di­tional, dis­easespe­cific, fac­tors are in play.

In a sec­ond line of re­search I fo­cus on the molec­u­lar ba­sis of vas­cu­la­ture plug­ging. A sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­non was also ob­served in other dis­eases and or­gans, and one cru­cial fac­tor that may unify them is vas­cu­lar in­flam­ma­tion. My cur­rent hy­poth­e­sis is that in­creased vas­cu­lar in­flam­ma­tion will cause cells to block the ves­sels and in­fil­trate the brain, caus­ing re­duced oxy­gen sup­ply (hy­poxia), a leaky blood­brain bar­rier, and ul­ti­mately blood flow re­duc­tions.

This vis­cous cy­cle may ac­cel­er­ate the disease pro­gres­sion and con­trib­ute to cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment.

Treat­ing vas­cu­lar in­flam­ma­tion and con­se­quently brain blood flow re­duc­tions may open up new routes to ther­a­peu­tics that could slow disease pro­gres­sion in pa­tients with dif­fer­ent forms of de­men­tia.

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