Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer's Disease: The Cerebrovascular Link
Brain Injuries, Traumatic
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are devastating neurological disorders, whose complex relationship is not completely understood. Cerebrovascular pathology, a key element in both conditions, could represent a mechanistic link between Aβ/tau deposition after TBI and the development of post concussive syndrome, dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In addition to debilitating acute effects, TBI-induced neurovascular injuries accelerate amyloid β (Aβ) production and perivascular accumulation, arterial stiffness, tau hyperphosphorylation and tau/Aβ-induced blood brain barrier damage, giving rise to a deleterious feed-forward loop. We postulate that TBI can initiate cerebrovascular pathology, which is causally involved in the development of multiple forms of neurodegeneration including AD-like dementias. In this review, we will explore how novel biomarkers, animal and human studies with a focus on cerebrovascular dysfunction are contributing to the understanding of the consequences of TBI on the development of AD-like pathology.