Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Frisbee, Jefferson C


This thesis addresses the challenge of understanding and evaluating cerebrovascular dysfunction in animal models of depression by introducing a novel approach to establishing and validating a composite metric of vascular function, the vascular health index (VHI). VHI integrates markers of vascular reactivity, vascular wall mechanics, and microvascular network density, providing a reliable and consistent assessment of this important aspect of brain function. This thesis demonstrates the validity and utility of VHI in evaluating integrated vascular function and the effectiveness of interventions to improve microvascular function. This comprehensive approach addresses the need for a standardized metric for cerebrovascular dysfunction, allowing for more accurate evaluation of the extent of vascular impairment throughout the course of chronic conditions like depression, metabolic syndrome and so on. VHI provides researchers with a valuable tool for gaining insight into the efficacy of interventions to improve microvascular function and developing new treatments and therapies for complex disorders.

Summary for Lay Audience

This thesis is about understanding and evaluating the health of the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients, and how this is related to depression. We know that changes in blood vessel function can contribute to the development of depressive symptoms but measuring this accurately in animal models of depression has been challenging. To address this issue, we introduce a new approach called the vascular health index (VHI), which integrates different markers of vascular health to provide a more complete picture. By using the VHI, researchers can better evaluate how well the blood vessels are working during depression, and how effective different treatments are in improving blood vessel health. This could help develop new treatments for depression that target blood vessel health. The thesis shows that the VHI can be a useful tool for researchers to better understand and treat chronic conditions underpinned by vascular dysfunction.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.