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TitleExecutive dysfunction and blockage of brain microvessels in a rat model of vascular cognitive impairment.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLangdon, Kristopher D., Chris A. Cordova, Shirley Granter-Button, Jamie D. Boyd, James Peeling, Timothy H. Murphy, and Dale Corbett
JournalJ Cereb Blood Flow Metab
Date Published2018 Oct

Most research focuses on overt stroke caused by blockage of major blood vessels. Less attention has been paid to small vessel disease which gives rise to covert stroke that often leads to vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). One reason for this may be the relative lack of relevant animal models. Herein, we describe, a model of VCI induced in middle-aged Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to a diet high in saturated fats, salt and refined sugar (HFSS). In Experiment 1, rats were fed HFSS and subjected to a small mediodorsal (MD) thalamic stroke with or without concomitant permanent bilateral carotid artery occlusion. MD lesions produce significant executive dysfunction in an attention set-shift task ( p = 0.012). In Experiment 2, rats were exposed to either HFSS or control diet and functional effects assessed. We found significant hypertension ( p = 0.013), blockage of brain microvessels ( p = 0.018) and white matter atrophy ( p = 0.039) in HFSS diet animals. As in Experiment 1, profound, specific set-shifting executive dysfunction was noted ( p = 0.003) following both small MD infarcts (0.332 mm) and the HFSS diet. In summary, these data describe a middle-aged animal model of VCI that includes clinically relevant metabolic disturbances and small vessel disease and as such may be helpful in developing new cognitive therapies.

Alternate JournalJ. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab.
PubMed ID29083274
PubMed Central IDPMC6168916