In a new study, researchers found that high blood pressure may affect conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease by interfering with the brain’s waste management system.
On the other hand, healthy blood vessels may help delay cognitive decline, protecting against Alzheimer’s disease.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Copenhagen and Yale School of Medicine.
Previous research has shown that several high blood pressure drugs are linked to lower dementia risk.
People who take high blood pressure drugs may have a lower risk of hypertension-related cognitive decline, a big sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
However, why high blood pressure can contribute to Alzheimer’s has been unclear.
In the study, the team examined mice with high blood pressure and found that high blood pressure can cause stiffening and elasticity loss in blood vessels.
This can hinder clearance of waste molecules from the brain by affecting the movement of cerebrospinal fluid into and interstitial fluid out of brain cells.
It could result in larger ventricles, decreased brain volume, and impaired fluid transport in the brain.
The team concludes that high blood pressure could interfere with the clearance of macromolecules from the brain, such as the Alzheimer’s pathology protein β-amyloid.
This means high blood pressure treatments may help reduce β-amyloid buildup and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
This supports the recent finding that the use of angiotensin II receptor blockers, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and beta blockers for high blood pressure was linked to a decrease in dementia risk.
The lead author of the study is Maiken Negergaard from the University of Copenhagen.
The study is published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
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