The Role of Preeclampsia and Inflammation in Late-Life Cognition: Vesna Garovic, MD, PhD


The chair of the nephrology division at Mayo Clinic provided context on recent findings linking inflammation and neurovascular damage in women with a history of severe preeclampsia, and how the community may react. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

"Alternatively, you can argue that women with preeclampsia had proinflammatory movement prior to their disease that actually resulted in different disease entities in different times of a woman’s life.”

Previous evidence suggests that levels of inflammation, as an immune response, increase with age throughout the body and brain. The effects of inflammation on the brain, both acute and chronic, have been associated with cognitive decline and risk of dementia in older adults. In a recently conducted study, severe cases of preeclampsia, a pregnancy specific hypertensive disorder, were found to elevate markers of neuroinflammation and neurovascular damage while demonstrating increased amyloid-ß concentration.1

Presented at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), July 31 to August 4, in San Diego, California, the study highlighted not only the cardiovascular, but cognitive, risks associated with the disorder. All told, resulted indicated that total gray matters were smaller in women with a history of preeclampsia and late-life hypertension compared with the other groups. Additionally, using voxel-based morphometry, findings showed that the gray matter volume changes were localized to the posterior brain regions, particularly the occipital lobe, in women with a history of preeclampsia with or without late-life hypertension.

There is currently a major unmet need within the Alzheimer disease (AD) field to find therapies that delay the disease onset or progression, rather than provide symptomatic relief. Some studies have suggested that immune/inflammatory pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of AD; however, several agents targeting these pathways that have undergone clinical trials have failed. Lead investigator Vesna Garovic, MD, PhD, recently sat down to discuss how these findings, and specifically damage from neuroinflammation, are pertinent conversations within the AD community. Garovic, chair of the nephrology division at Mayo Clinic, also provided commentary on why it is peculiar to see these late-life changes develop years after preeclampsia occurs.

Click here for more coverage of AAIC 2022.

1. Suvokov S, Norby A, Abou-Hassan C, et al. Circulating extracellular vesicles of neurovascular origin are elevated in women with severe preeclampsia years after their affected pregnancies. Presented at: 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 31 to Aug 4; San Diego, CA. 62360
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