Brain Entry and Exit Consortium: High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain Borders


The borders of the brain are where the brain communicates with the rest of the body, including, arguably most importantly, the immune system. In this project, we will study how healthy aging affects the brain’s borders using advanced, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques on powerful scanners. We will track how a clinically approved MRI dye, injected into the veins, leaks out of blood vessels connecting the brain to its protective covering, the dura mater, which contains blood and lymph vessels that drain waste from the brain. We will also study brain specimens obtained from neurosurgery and autopsy under the microscope to understand the biological basis of what we observe on neuroimaging. In addition to people, we will study a small monkey with a brain and immune system that resemble those of human beings, in which diseases of aging that resemble Alzheimer’s disease can occur. Our early results tell us that as people age, the blood vessels and brain coverings become leaky, but we do not understand whether that leakiness is causing disease or protecting against it. Our work in healthy people and monkeys, which we will compare to results obtained from mouse and lab studies in the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Brain Entry and Exit Consortium, will lay the groundwork for future study of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, we hope to use what we learn in this study to develop new treatments, and ways of delivering those treatments, to improve how the brain communicates with the immune system and limit the negative effects of aging. 

Funding to Date



Studies of Alternative Neurodegenerative Pathways, Translational


Daniel S. Reich, M.D., Ph.D.