The Research Roundup provides an overview of the past week’s research from Mayo Clinic Laboratories consultants, including featured abstracts and a complete list of published studies and reviews.
While the accumulation and aggregation of amyloid-β and tau are central events in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, there is increasing evidence that cerebrovascular pathology is also abundant in Alzheimer's disease brains. In brain capillaries, endothelial cells are connected closely with one another through transmembrane tight junction proteins forming the blood-brain barrier. Because the blood-brain barrier tightly regulates the exchange of molecules between brain and blood and maintains brain homeostasis, its impairment is increasingly recognized as a critical factor contributing to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. However, the pathological relationship between blood-brain barrier properties and Alzheimer's disease progression in the human brain is not fully understood. In this study, we show that the loss of cortical tight junction proteins is a common event in Alzheimer's disease and is correlated with synaptic degeneration. By quantifying the amounts of major tight junction proteins, claudin-5 and occludin, in 12 brain regions dissected from post-mortem brains of normal ageing (n = 10), pathological ageing (n = 14), and Alzheimer's disease patients (n = 19), we found that they were selectively decreased in cortical areas in Alzheimer's disease.