Aging-related cognitive decline is an emerging health crisis; however, no established unifying mechanism has been identified for the cognitive impairments seen in an aging population. A vascular hypothesis of cognitive decline has been proposed but is difficult to test given the requirement of high-fidelity microvascular imaging resolution with a broad and deep brain imaging field of view, which is restricted by the fundamental trade-off of imaging penetration depth and resolution. Super-resolution ultrasound localization microscopy (ULM) offers a potential solution by exploiting circulating microbubbles to achieve a vascular resolution approaching the capillary scale without sacrificing imaging depth. In this report, we apply ULM imaging to a mouse model of aging and quantify differences in cerebral vascularity, blood velocity, and vessel tortuosity across several brain regions. We found significant decreases in blood velocity, and significant increases in vascular tortuosity, across all brain regions in the aged cohort, and significant decreases in blood volume in the cerebral cortex. These data provide the first-ever ULM measurements of subcortical microvascular dynamics in vivo within the context of the aging brain and reveal that aging has a major impact on these measurements.
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