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Health Sciences staff profiles

Ashwini Hariharan

PositionPhD Student
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
Research summaryInvestigating the link between cerebrovascular dysfunction and Alzheimer's disease pathology


Sporadic or late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) accounts for 95% of AD cases and occurs in people over 65 years of age, making ageing the biggest risk factor. Also associated with ageing is vascular dysfunction. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) produces nitric oxide - a major vasodilator, from L-arginine. eNOS protein expression is dramatically reduced in the brains of patients with sporadic AD and also with ageing, placing eNOS at the conjunction of vascular dysfunction, ageing and AD.

My PhD project investigates cerebrovascular dysfunction using endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) deficient mice. I am looking at how the loss of eNOS affects neurovascular coupling, brain L-arginine and urea metabolism, all of which are impaired in sporadic AD. This research will provide further insight on the causative role of cerebrovascular dysfunction in the pathogenesis of sporadic AD.