Experimental ischemic stroke induces secondary white matter degeneration and long-term cognitive impairment

dc.creatorBerry, Raymonden_US
dc.creatorLiu, Ranen_US
dc.creatorWinters, Alien_US
dc.creatorSpann, Clairen_US
dc.creatorAmpofo, Hannahen_US
dc.creatorColon-Perez, Luisen_US
dc.creatorSumien, Nathalieen_US
dc.creatorYang, Shao-Huaen_US
dc.creator.orcid0000-0001-9071-555X (Berry, Raymond)
dc.description.abstractClinical investigations have detected extensive white matter degeneration in individuals affected by ischemic stroke. Nonetheless, current stroke research has primarily concentrated on the infarct and periinfarct penumbra regions. The exploration of white matter degeneration's role after ischemic stroke and its contribution to post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia (PSCID) has been limited in experimental models. Understanding the impact of white matter degeneration on PSCID in these models could offer valuable insights into potential therapeutic targets and interventions for alleviating cognitive decline following ischemic stroke. In this study, we analyzed the progression of locomotor and cognitive function up to 4 months after inducing ischemic stroke by middle cerebral artery occlusion in young adult rats. Despite evident ongoing locomotor recovery, long-term cognitive and affective impairment persisted after ischemic stroke, as indicated by Morris water maze, elevated plus maze, and open field performance. At 4-month after stroke, multimodal MRI was conducted to assess white matter degeneration. T2-weighted MRI (T2WI) unveiled bilateral cerebroventricular enlargement after ischemic stroke. Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery MRI (FLAIR) revealed white matter hyperintensities in the corpus callosum and fornix across bilateral hemispheres. A positive association between the volume of white matter hyperintensities and total cerebroventricular volume was noted in stroke rats. Further evidence of bilateral white matter degeneration was indicated by the reduction of fractional anisotropy (FA) and quantitative anisotropy (QA) in diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) analysis. FA measures water diffusion directionality; reduced FA implies decreased white matter tract coherence. QA, linked to diffusion directionality, indicates microstructural white matter changes with decreased QA. Reduced FA and QA in DWI MRI suggest brain microstructural integrity changes, involving myelin sheath disruption, axonal damage, or overall white matter deterioration. Additionally, microglia and astrocyte activation were identified in the bilateral corpus callosum after stroke. This inflammatory response indicates the involvement of glial cells in the post-stroke environment, suggesting a complex interplay between structural alterations and neuroinflammatory processes that may contribute to the observed changes in white matter integrity. Understanding these multifaceted mechanisms is crucial for developing targeted interventions aimed at promoting recovery and minimizing long-term neurological consequences following ischemic stroke. The importance of these results is underscored by their potential connection to neurological or neurodegenerative conditions, given that white matter degeneration is commonly noted in diverse neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other related conditions. Our study suggests that experimental ischemic stroke induced by MCAO in young rats replicates long-term cognitive impairment and pervasive white matter degeneration observed in ischemic stroke patients. This model provides an invaluable tool for unraveling the mechanisms underlying post-stroke secondary white matter degeneration and its contribution to PSCID. Researchers and clinicians use these metrics to understand and monitor the progression of neurological diseases, potentially aiding in early diagnosis and treatment planning. This research may pave the way for a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying post-stroke cognitive impairment and dementia, ultimately leading to improved strategies for patient care and rehabilitation.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNational Institutes of Health grants NS109583 (S.Y.) and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas #RP210046 (R.B.)en_US
dc.titleExperimental ischemic stroke induces secondary white matter degeneration and long-term cognitive impairmenten_US