Interaction of Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease in the APPswe/PS1dE9 Mouse Model

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While the most well-known pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein, more and more studies indicate a strong interaction of vascular risk factors with AD, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and stroke. With this study, we strived to clarify the link between AD and ischemic stroke in vivo, by means of a longitudinal study in transgenic AD mice in which ischemic stroke was induced. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) measurements have been performed, next to a variety of behavioral paradigms, such as the open field, rotarod and Morris water maze. Results one month after surgery suggest a larger motor impairment in the AD stroke mice compared to the other groups. At the age of 9-10 months, the AD mice showed a higher SBP, in combination with higher activity levels in the open field, in contrast to measurements performed in the wildtype mice. At 12 months of age however, this hyperactive behavior was only observed in the AD stroke mice. Moreover, throughout the study, a higher incidence of epileptic seizures was observed in these same AD stroke mice, together with higher mortality rates. It seems that the combination of AD and ischemic stroke leads to a higher sensibility to stressors than either pathology alone, resulting in pathological and behavioral alterations that vary during the different stages of the disease. The combination of AD and ischemic stroke thus deserves more attention, since more insight in the underlying mechanisms of this combination can contribute to the development of preventatives or treatments.
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