An L, Shen Y, Chopp M, Zacharek A, Venkat P, Chen Z, Li W, Qian Y, Landschoot-Ward J, and Chen J. Deficiency of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS) Exacerbates Brain Damage and Cognitive Deficit in A Mouse Model of Vascular Dementia. Aging Dis 2021; 12(3):732-746.
Vascular Dementia (VaD) accounts for nearly 20% of all cases of dementia. eNOS plays an important role in neurovascular remodeling, anti-inflammation, and cognitive functional recovery after stroke. In this study, we investigated whether eNOS regulates brain damage, cognitive function in mouse model of bilateral common carotid artery stenosis (BCAS) induced VaD. Late-adult (6-8 months) C57BL/6J and eNOS knockout (eNOS-/-) mice were subjected to BCAS (n=12/group) or sham group (n=8/group). BCAS was performed by applying microcoils to both common carotid arteries. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood pressure were measured. A battery of cognitive functional tests was performed, and mice were sacrificed 30 days after BCAS. Compared to corresponding sham mice, BCAS in wild-type (WT) and eNOS-/- mice significantly: 1) induces short term, long term memory loss, spatial learning and memory deficits; 2) decreases CBF, increases ischemic cell damage, including apoptosis, white matter (WM) and axonal damage; 3) increases blood brain barrier (BBB) leakage, decreases aquaporin-4 (AQP4) expression and vessel density; 4) increases microglial, astrocyte activation and oxidative stress in the brain; 5) increases inflammatory factor interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-1(IRAK-1) and amyloid beta (Aβ) expression in brain; 6) increases IL-6 and IRAK4 expression in brain. eNOS-/-sham mice exhibit increased blood pressure, decreased iNOS and nNOS in brain compared to WT-sham mice. Compared to WT-BCAS mice, eNOS-/-BCAS mice exhibit worse vascular and WM/axonal damage, increased BBB leakage and inflammatory response, increased cognitive deficit, decreased iNOS, nNOS in brain. eNOS deficit exacerbates BCAS induced brain damage and cognitive deficit.