Cerebral Microvasculature and Inflammation Laboratory

Lab head: Karen Cullen
Location: Anderson Stuart Building, Camperdown Campus

The central hypothesis of the studies conducted by this laboratory is that capillary microhaemorrhages result in the classic neuropathology of Alzheimer's Disease. These microhaemorrhages (>200 µm) around capillaries coincide with ß-A plaques. They occur chronically and result in both acute neuronal death and slowly developing neurofibrillary degeneration. This hypothesis can account for the key disease features, including late age onset cardiovascular risk factors, progression of cognitive changes, cortical shrinkage, the inflammatory profile and the anatomy of neurodegeneration. Understanding the causes of microvascular breakdown and inflammatory sequelae are important in the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Lab members: Karen M Cullen

Microvascular pathology in Alzheimer's disease

Primary supervisor: Karen Cullen

The major focus of the laboratory is on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is the most common form of dementia, and its prevalence is increasing as the population ages. The key lesion in the disease is breakdown of the cerebral microvasculature. Our work studies normal and diseased microvasculature and the relationship of damaged vessels to neurodegeneration. We also examine the processes of inflammation around damaged vessels. An example of the types of projects available: Immunohistochemical study of the microvasculature and inflammation in AD brain tissue. This project involves the mapping of capillary damage and the sequence of inflammatory events from fresh microhaemorrhage to scar formation.

Discipline: Anatomy & Histology
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Vascular biology, Nervous system diseases