The impact of vascular risk factors on cognitive function has garnered much interest in recent years. The appropriate distribution of oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients by the cerebral vasculature is critical for proper cognitive performance. The cerebral microvasculature is a key site of vascular resistance and a preferential target for small vessel disease. While deleterious effects of vascular risk factors on microvascular function are known, the contribution of this dysfunction to cognitive deficits is less clear. In this review, we summarize current evidence for microvascular dysfunction in brain. We highlight effects of select vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, and hyperhomocysteinemia) on the pial and parenchymal circulation. Lastly, we discuss potential links between microvascular disease and cognitive function, highlighting current gaps in our understanding.
- Cerebral circulation
- Vascular remodeling