Novel Markers of Angiogenesis in the Setting of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

Christopher M. Callahan, Liana Apostolova, Sujuan Gao, Shannon L. Risacher, Jamie Case, Andrew J. Saykin, Kathleen A. Lane, Cecily G. Swinford, Mervin C. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Aberrant angiogenesis may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between angiogenesis activity and evidence of neurodegeneration among older adults. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 49 older adults clinically characterized as cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment, or early Alzheimer's disease. In addition to neuroimaging, we completed assays on peripheral blood, including: vascular endothelial growth factor, tumor necrosis factor, fibroblast growth factor, and amyloid-β peptide 40. We used advanced polychromatic flow cytometry to phenotype circulating mononuclear cells to assess angiogenesis activity. RESULTS: Although we documented differences in cognitive performance, structural changes on neuroimaging, and burden of amyloid and tau on positron emission tomography, angiogenesis activity did not vary by group. Interestingly, VEGF levels were shown to be increased among subjects with mild cognitive impairment. In ANCOVA models controlling for age, sex, intracranial volume, and monocyte subpopulations, angiogenesis activity was correlated with increased white matter hyperintensities. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate a significant association between angiogenesis activity and cerebrovascular disease. To better understand the potential of angiogenesis as an intervention target, longitudinal studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-969
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • biomarkers
  • pathologic angiogenesis
  • vascular dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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