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AD/PD 2022 | Role of the blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s disease

The blood-brain barrier describes the blood vessels vascularizing the central nervous system (CNS). The system has specific structural, metabolomic, signaling, and transport properties that regulate the environment for CNS function and protect against disease. Richard Daneman, PhD, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, talks on investigations into blood-brain barrier formation, changes during injury and disease, response to changes in brain activity, and how response affects the brain. In particular, research investigating how blood-brain barrier properties change in response to stimuli from the brain and the environment has shown that manipulation of brain activity leads to significant blood-brain barrier changes. Increasing neural activity led to a reduction in efflux, a system removing toxins from the brain, such as amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease. Diurnal variation was also demonstrated, which suggests neural activity uses circadian clock genes to regulate the amount of efflux. Dr Daneman explains that errors could lead to an increase in neural activity, reducing efflux and amyloid-β removal, exacerbating Alzheimer’s disease. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2022 Conference in Barcelona, Spain.