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LMB Seminar: Systemic regulation of brain aging and function

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Brain aging leads to cognitive decline and is the main risk factor for sporadic forms of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. While brain cell- and tissue-intrinsic factors are likely key determinants of the aging process recent studies document a remarkable susceptibility of the brain to circulatory factors. Thus, blood borne factors from young mice or humans are sufficient to slow aspects of brain aging and improve cognitive function in old mice and, vice versa, factors from old mice are detrimental for young mice and impair cognition. In trying to understand the molecular basis of these observations we found evidence that the cerebrovasculature is an important target and that brain endothelial cells show prominent age-related transcriptional changes in response to plasma. We discovered that plasma proteins are taken up broadly into brain endothelial cells and that this process various greatly between individual cells and with aging. We are exploring the relevance of these findings for neurodegeneration and potential application towards therapies.

This talk is part of the MRC LMB Seminar Series series.

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