Prolonged systemic hyperglycemia does not cause pericyte loss and permeability at the mouse blood-brain barrier.
Mäe MA., Li T., Bertuzzi G., Raschperger E., Vanlandewijck M., He L., Nahar K., Dalheim A., Hofmann JJ., Laviña B., Keller A., Betsholtz C., Genové G.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive impairment and various central nervous system pathologies such as stroke, vascular dementia, or Alzheimer's disease. The exact pathophysiology of these conditions is poorly understood. Recent reports suggest that hyperglycemia causes cerebral microcirculation pathology and blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and leakage. The majority of these reports, however, are based on methods including in vitro BBB modeling or streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rodents, opening questions regarding the translation of the in vitro findings to the in vivo situation, and possible direct effects of streptozotocin on the brain vasculature. Here we used a genetic mouse model of hyperglycemia (Ins2AKITA) to address whether prolonged systemic hyperglycemia induces BBB dysfunction and leakage. We applied a variety of methodologies to carefully evaluate BBB function and cellular integrity in vivo, including the quantification and visualization of specific tracers and evaluation of transcriptional and morphological changes in the BBB and its supporting cellular components. These experiments did neither reveal altered BBB permeability nor morphological changes of the brain vasculature in hyperglycemic mice. We conclude that prolonged hyperglycemia does not lead to BBB dysfunction, and thus the cognitive impairment observed in diabetes may have other causes.