A number of natural and chemical compounds that exert anti-oxidative properties are demonstrated to be beneficial for brain and cognitive function, and some are reported to reduce the risk of dementia. However, the detailed mechanisms by which those anti-oxidative compounds show positive effects on cognition and dementia are still unclear. An emerging body of evidence suggests that the integrity of the cerebrovascular blood-brain barrier (BBB) is centrally involved in the onset and progression of cognitive impairment and dementia. While recent studies revealed that some anti-oxidative agents appear to be protective against the disruption of BBB integrity and structure, few studies considered the neuroprotective effects of antioxidants in the context of cerebrovascular integrity. Therefore, in this review, we examine the mechanistic insights of antioxidants as a pleiotropic agent for cognitive impairment and dementia through a cerebrovascular axis by primarily focusing on the current available data from physiological studies. Conclusively, there is a compelling body of evidence that suggest antioxidants may prevent cognitive decline and dementia by protecting the integrity and function of BBB and, indeed, further studies are needed to directly examine these effects in addition to underlying molecular mechanisms.
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