The vascular aging of the cerebellum




McElroy, Christopher L.


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The cerebellum has been discovered to have an increased role in our daily lives than was previously recognized. It not controls fine motor skills, posture, and gait, but newer research has shown that it has a role in cognitive thought, memory and emotion, as well as other non-motor specific functions. It is important to know how this part of the brain ages and why. It is well established that during the aging process the cerebellum in some regions decreases in size due to atrophy, but the reasoning for this is not well understood. One possible mechanism that could explain the physical functional deficits contributed to the aging cerebellum is the aging of the vasculature in the cerebellum. We propose that there are changes to the surface area, volume, length, diameter, and branching of the blood vessels between young and aged C57/B6 black mice, specifically in the vermis and Crus I/II areas. These two areas are especially susceptible to the morphological changes caused by aging. To observe these changes traditional fluorescence and a new technique called Clarity will be implemented to evaluate the structural changes of the vessels in the cerebellum, and laser Doppler flowmetry will be used to evaluate the functional changes. Our hypothesis is that aging will cause a decrease in the surface area, volume, length, diameter, branching, and blood flow. What was observed was that there were not any significant changes to any of these parameters.