Vascular, especially cerebrovascular, dysfunction may be a critical factor in ageing and dementia. Cerebrovascular impairment due to risk factors such as ageing, stroke, smoking, diabetes and cerebral hypoperfusion has a deterious impact on the normal supply of basic nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to the brain; their absence leads inevitably to neuronal death. The cerebral white matter lesions found in most forms of dementia are reportedly the result of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. However the temporal and spatial evolution of damage remains unclear. Furthermore, any decrease in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) has been hypothesised to be a precocious attack on white matter. The "milieu interieure" the most protected in the body, namely the extracellular fluid of the brain, is no longer maintained homeostatically. This work examines the supposition that chronic cerebral hypoperfusion could be responsible for the time-related development of white and grey matter pathology and investigates the relationships between the disturbances in the integrity of the BBB and white matter pathology.