Although the nervous and vascular systems are functionally different, they show a high degree of anatomic parallelism and cross-talk. They also share similar mechanisms and molecular cues that regulate their development and maintenance. Malfunctioning of this cross-talk can cause or influence several vascular and neuronal disorders. In this review, we first provide a brief overview of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the neurovascular link. Second, we focus on two neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to illustrate how a defective neurovascular link might contribute to their pathogenesis. Finally, we briefly discuss some therapeutic implications of the neurovascular link for designing strategies to treat these diseases. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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