Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a catastrophic late-onset syndrome which manifests itself mainly as a central nervous system degenerative disorder. CADASIL has been associated with mutations in the Notch 3 receptor which appear to cause, mainly, vascular abnormalities. Although more than a decade has passed since Notch 3 mutations were linked with this disease, we still do not have a good grasp on the molecular mechanisms underlying the CADASIL-associated Notch 3 receptor malfunction, nor do we understand many aspects of the CADASIL pathobiology. In this review, we discuss the CADASIL-related literature and attempt to evaluate the various experimental systems and approaches used to address what seems to be a paradigm for studying the pathobiology and genetics of vascular cognitive impairment.
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