• aging;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • basement membranes;
  • cerebral amyloid angiopathy;
  • cerebral vasculature


Development of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with failure of elimination of amyloid-β (Aβ) from the brain along perivascular basement membranes that form the pathways for drainage of interstitial fluid and solutes from the brain. In transgenic APP mouse models of AD, the severity of cerebral amyloid angiopathy is greater in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, intermediate in the thalamus, and least in the striatum. In this study we test the hypothesis that age-related regional variation in (1) vascular basement membranes and (2) perivascular drainage of Aβ contribute to the different regional patterns of CAA in the mouse brain. Quantitative electron microscopy of the brains of 2-, 7-, and 23-month-old mice revealed significant age-related thickening of capillary basement membranes in cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and thalamus, but not in the striatum. Results from Western blotting and immunocytochemistry experiments showed a significant reduction in collagen IV in the cortex and hippocampus with age and a reduction in laminin and nidogen 2 in the cortex and striatum. Injection of soluble Aβ into the hippocampus or thalamus showed an age-related reduction in perivascular drainage from the hippocampus but not from the thalamus. The results of the study suggest that changes in vascular basement membranes and perivascular drainage with age differ between brain regions, in the mouse, in a manner that may help to explain the differential deposition of Aβ in the brain in AD and may facilitate development of improved therapeutic strategies to remove Aβ from the brain in AD.