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J Neurol Sci. 2004 Nov 15;226(1-2):35-9.

The pathogenesis of CADASIL: an update.

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Institute for Ageing and Health, School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6 BE, UK.


Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) appears to be the most common form of hereditary stroke disorder. CADASIL is associated with arterial smooth muscle degeneration linked to mutations in the Notch3 gene, whose product is a transmembrane receptor that functions in cell-cell communication. The pathogenesis of CADASIL remains unclear. Current research efforts are directed towards the elucidation of various features of the disorder including investigations on CADASIL-like disorders, early cognitive changes, specificity of neuroimaging for diagnosis, discovery of de novo mutations, the development of Notch3 transgenic mouse models and molecular cellular studies in Notch3 signaling. The genetics of cerebrovascular disorders (CVD) was virtually unknown until recently. Genetic associations may have been evaded because of widely variable phenotypes, even within monogenic disorders such as CADASIL. Several investigators have attempted genotype-phenotype correlation in CADASIL cases but the relationship between genetic alterations and overt manifestation of phenotype remains elusive. However, the elucidation of the genetics and pathogenesis of CADASIL have been important in further understanding of the primary vascular mechanisms that lead to ischemic blood flow and its consequences on neuronal survival. This report summarizes some of the highlights of the satellite symposium on CADASIL at Vas-Cog 2003.

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