The Dynamics of Impaired Blood-Brain Barrier Restoration in a Rat Model of Co-morbid Injury
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Defect in brain microperfusion is increasingly recognized as an antecedent event to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and ischemia. Nevertheless, studies on the role of impaired microperfusion as a pathological trigger to neuroinflammation, Aβ deposition as well as blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption, and the etiological link between AD and ischemia are lacking. In this study, we employ in vivo sequential magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) imaging in a co-morbid rat model of β-amyloid toxicity (Aβ) and ischemia (ET1) with subsequent histopathology of striatal lesion core and penumbra at 1, 7, and 28 days post injury. Within 24 h, cerebral injury resulted in increased BBB permeability due to the dissolution of β-dystroglycan (β-DG) and basement membrane laminin by active matrix metalloproteinase9 (MMP9). As a result, net flow of circulating IgG down a hydrostatic gradient into the parenchyma led to vasogenic edema and impaired perfusion, thus increasing the apparent hyperintensity in true fast imaging with steady-state free precession (true FISP) imaging and acute hypoperfusion in CT. This was followed by a slow recruitment of reactive astroglia to the affected brain and depolarization of aquaporin4 (AQP4) expression resulting in cytotoxic edema—in an attempt to resolve vasogenic edema. On d28, functional BBB was restored in ET1 rats as observed by astrocytic MMP9 release, β-DG stabilization, and new vessel formation. This was confirmed by reduced hyperintensity on true FISP imaging and normalized cerebral blood flow in CT. While, Aβ toxicity alone was not detrimental enough, Aβ+ET1 rats showed delayed differential expression of MMP9, late recruitment of astroglial cells, protracted loss of AQP4 depolarization, and thus delayed BBB restoration and cerebral perfusion.