University of Bristol
Hypertension, hypoperfusion and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's Research UK
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) promotes the accumulation of amyloid-? within the brain and may increase the risk of Alzheimers. In keeping with recent findings in elderly people scanned for brain amyloid, in post-mortem brains from Alzheimers patients we found more amyloid-? in those with than without previous hypertension. We want to investigate in more detail why amyloid-? accumulates within the brain in hypertension, and to determine whether the hypertension contributes to Alzheimers-type degeneration of nerve cells. Possible explanations for a link between hypertension and amyloid-? include effects of hypertension on enzymes responsible for the production and removal of amyloid-?, and effects on blood vessels and blood flow within the brain. With previous ARUK support, we have developed ways of analysing these enzymes and effects, through measuring the activity of enzymes that produce and remove amyloid-?, and measuring markers of blood flow through the brain, and severity of damage to blood vessels. We will use these methods to study two large, well-characterised sets of post-mortem brainssome from, and others not from, people who had hypertension. The research will clarify the mechanisms that relate hypertension, reduced blood flow, amyloid-? and Alzheimers and may identify processes that can be targeted for treatment.