The arteriosclerosis-dependent alteration of brain perfusion is one of the major determinants in small vessel disease, since small vessels have a pivotal role in the brain’s autoregulation. Nevertheless, as far as we know, endothelium distress can potentiate the flow dysregulation and lead to subcortical vascular dementia that is related to small vessel disease (SVD), also being defined as subcortical vascular dementia (sVAD), as well as microglia activation, chronic hypoxia and hypoperfusion, vessel-tone dysregulation, altered astrocytes, and pericytes functioning blood-brain barrier disruption. The molecular basis of this pathology remains controversial. The apparent consequence (or a first event, too) is the macroscopic alteration of the neurovascular coupling. Here, we examined the possible mechanisms that lead a healthy aging process towards subcortical dementia. We remarked that SVD and white matter abnormalities related to age could be accelerated and potentiated by different vascular risk factors. Vascular function changes can be heavily influenced by genetic and epigenetic factors, which are, to the best of our knowledge, mostly unknown. Metabolic demands, active neurovascular coupling, correct glymphatic process, and adequate oxidative and inflammatory responses could be bulwarks in defense of the correct aging process; their impairments lead to a potentially catastrophic and non-reversible condition.
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