In a somewhat narrow diagnostic lens, Alzheimer disease (AD) has been considered a brain-specific disease characterized by the presence of Aβ (β-amyloid) plaques and tau neural fibrillary tangles and neural inflammation; these pathologies lead to neuronal death and consequently clinical symptoms, such as memory loss, confusion, and impaired cognitive function. However, for decades, researchers have noticed a link between various cardiovascular abnormalities and AD-such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and vasculopathy. A considerable volume of work has pointed at this head to heart connection, focusing mainly on associations between cerebral hypoperfusion and neuronal degradation. However, new evidence of a possible systemic or metastatic profile to AD calls for further analysis of this connection. Aβ aggregations-biochemically and structurally akin to those found in the typical AD pathology-are now known to be present in the hearts of individuals with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, as well as the hearts of patients with AD. These findings suggest a potential systemic profile of proteinopathies and a new hypothesis for the link between peripheral and central symptoms of heart failure and AD. Herein, we provide an overview of the cardiovascular links to Alzheimer disease.
Circ Res. 2019 Jan 4;124(1):142-149. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313563.