Blood-brain barrier is impaired in the hippocampus of young adult spontaneously hypertensive rats
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A causative role of blood-brain barrier (BBB) impairment is suggested in the pathogenesis of vascular dementia with leakage of serum components from small vessels leading to neuronal and glial damage. We examined the BBB function of young adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) in order to determine earlier changes in the BBB in chronic hypertension. SHR and stroke-prone SHR (SHRSP) were injected with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) as an indicator of BBB function and compared with Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY). The brain tissues were further examined with cationized ferritin, a marker for evaluating glycocalyx. The staining for HRP was distributed around the vessels in the hippocampal fissure of SHR and SHRSP, but not in WKY. With electron microscopy, the extravasated reaction product of HRP appeared in abluminal pits of the endothelial cells of arterioles and within the basal lamina in the hippocampus, but not the cerebral cortex, of SHR and SHRSP. On the contrary, the reaction product of HRP was never seen in the abluminal pits of the endothelial cells or the basal lamina of vessels in WKY. The number of cationized ferritin particles binding to the endothelial cells of capillaries was decreased in the hippocampus of SHR and SHRSP, while the number decreased in the cerebral cortex of SHRSP compared with those in WKY. However, the cationized ferritin binding was preserved in the endothelial cells of the arterioles with an increased vascular permeability. These findings suggest that the chronic hypertensive state induces BBB dysfunction in the hippocampus at an early stage.
KeywordsBlood-brain barrier Hypertension Young adults Hippocampus SHR
The authors wish to express their appreciation to Ms. C. Ishikawa for technical assistance and to Ms. Y. Fujiwara for editorial assistance. This research was supported by a budget from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.
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