About this Research Topic
Vasculature is the interface between tissue and circulation. It consists of endothelial cells, mural cells including vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and pericytes, and other perivascular cells including macrophages and fibroblasts. The vascular system not only delivers oxygen and nutrients, but also shuttles the immune cells around. As the first line of defense, the vascular system also senses the changes in surrounding tissue, particularly inflammation. Vascular inflammation can occur in blood vessels of all sizes in any organ. It has a complex etiology, including infectious diseases such as COVID-19, and chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, excessive vascular inflammation is clinically known as vasculitis, diagnosed by blood test, imaging and biopsy.
Vasculitis not only thickens the blood vessel wall, causing blood flow reduction and insufficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients, but also triggers inflammatory responses in secondary sites, or even the whole body. Vasculitis is often associated with neurological complications, including headache, brain edema, stroke, and even dementia. It remains largely unknow how systemic vascular inflammation activates the innate immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) and triggers neuronal impairment, or whether vascular inflammation also influences the pathological cascades in age-associated neurodegenerative diseases, such as misfolded protein aggregation in AD. However, molecular signatures of vascular inflammation, such as endothelial VCAM1 upregulation, have been shown to contribute to the harmful circulatory environment in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. This might be just the tip of the iceberg, as other vascular cells are yet to be studied.
In this Research Topic, experts including vascular biologists, neuroscientists and immunologists will provide a better understanding of the vascular inflammation in aging, neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions, as well as the crosstalk between the central and peripheral systems during vascular inflammation. We seek Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective, Clinical Trial, Case Report and Opinion articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:
1. Charactering the vascular inflammation in aging and related human diseases, particularly in neurodegenerative diseases and related conditions;
2. Defining the potential links between vascular inflammation / vasculitis and the pathogenesis of these human diseases;
3. Defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms that triggers vascular inflammation, and modeling of such events in cell systems and animal models;
4. New technological development of fluid biomarker(s) or neural imaging method(s) for early detection and longitudinal studies in human patients;
5. Dissecting the genetic risk factors that may predispose us to vascular inflammation;
6. Understanding the common comorbidities between vasculitis and dementia;
7. Potential therapeutic approaches that can effectively elevate vascular inflammation, and/or mitigate the secondary neurological complications.
Keywords: Vascular, inflammation, aging, neurodegeneration, infection
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