Vascular cognitive impairment: Modeling a critical neurologic disease in vitro and in vivo

Alex M. Helman, M. Paul Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) is a complex form of dementia, combining aspects of vascular disease and other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. VCID encompasses a wide spectrum of cerebrovascular-driven cognitive impairment, from mild cognitive impairment to fully developed dementia. This disease state is further complicated by metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and lifestyle factors, like obesity and high fat diets. Scope of review: This manuscript is meant to both define VCID and review the in vitro and in vivo models of the disease state. This includes in vitro models of the neurovascular unit, models of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion, animals with NOTCH3 mutations as a model of small vessel disease, large animals with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), and animal models of mixed dementia. Major conclusions: Synthetic microvessels are a promising technique to study the neurovascular unit and canines, despite the cost, are an excellent model to study CAA. While there are several good models of individual aspects of VCID, the heterogeneity of the disease states prevents them from being a model of all aspects of the disease. Therefore, VCID needs to be further defined into disease states that exist within this umbrella term. This includes specific guidelines for stroke counts and stroke locations and further categorization of overlapping cerebrovascular and AD pathologies that contribute to dementia. This will allow for better models and a more thorough understanding of how vascular disease contributes to dementia. General significance: VCID is the second most common form of dementia and is expected to increase in coming years. The heterogeneity of VCID makes it difficult to study, but without better definitions and models, VCID presents a major public health problem for our aging population. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, edited by M. Paul Murphy, Roderick A. Corriveau and Donna M. Wilcock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-982
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • VCI
  • VCID
  • Vascular cognitive impairment
  • Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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