The Glymphatic Response to the Development of Type 2 Diabetes

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The glymphatic system has recently been shown to be important in neurological diseases, including diabetes. However, little is known about how the progressive onset of diabetes affects the glymphatic system. The aim of this study is to investigate the glymphatic system response to the progressive onset of diabetes in a rat model of type 2 diabetic mellitus. Male Wistar rats (n = 45) with and without diabetes were evaluated using MRI glymphatic tracer kinetics, functional tests, and brain tissue immunohistochemistry. Our data demonstrated that the contrast agent clearance impairment gradually progressed with the diabetic duration. The MRI data showed that an impairment in contrast clearance occurred prior to the cognitive deficits detected using functional tests and permitted the detection of an early DM stage compared to the immuno-histopathology and cognitive tests. Additionally, the quantitative MRI markers of brain waste clearance demonstrated region-dependent sensitivity in glymphatic impairment. The improved sensitivity of MRI markers in the olfactory bulb and the whole brain at an early DM stage may be attributed to the important role of the olfactory bulb in the parenchymal efflux pathway. MRI can provide sensitive quantitative markers of glymphatic impairment during the progression of DM and can be used as a valuable tool for the early diagnosis of DM with a potential for clinical application.

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