Brain microvascular alterations are thought to contribute to the development of stroke and dementia. Structural changes in capillaries of elderly patients correlate positively with advanced age and dementia. The objective of this study is to use laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy to compare structural (collagen content) and functional (apoptosis) parameters in brain tissues and isolated vessels of AD patients to age-matched controls. Our results show significantly higher fluorescent labeling for apoptosis in AD vessels compared to controls. Also, there is significantly higher autofluorescence (reflecting levels of collagen and other proteins that autofluoresce) in AD brain and vessels compared to controls. Western blot analysis of collagen subtypes shows elevated type I and type III and reduced type IV levels in AD vessels. These data demonstrate that changes in the amount and type of collagen occur in AD brain and suggest that cerebral vessel injury is part of AD pathology.
Keywords: Alzheimer's, autofluorescence, collagen, apoptosis, resistance vessels, cerebrovascular
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