In VivoTwo-photon Fluorescence Microscopy Reveals Disturbed Cerebral Capillary Blood Flow and Increased Susceptibility to Ischemic Insults in Diabetic Mice

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Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of stroke, but the mechanisms are unclear. The present study tested the hypothesis that diabetes mellitus disturbs the brain microcirculation and increases the susceptibility to cerebral damage in a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model of ischemia.


Diabetes was induced by streptozocin in mice expressing green fluorescent protein in endothelial cells (Tie2-GFP mice). Four weeks later, they were subjected to transient (20 min) MCAO. In vivo blood flow was measured by two-photon laser-scanning microscopy (TPLSM) in cerebral arteries, veins, and capillaries.


There was a significant decrease in red blood cell (RBC) velocity in capillaries in diabetic mice as assessed by TPLSM, yet the regional cerebral blood flow, as assessed by laser Doppler flowmetry, was maintained. Brain capillary flow developed turbulence after MCAO only in diabetic mice. These mice sustained increased neurological deficits after MCAO which were accompanied by an exaggerated degradation of tight junction proteins and blunted CaMKII phosphorylation in cerebral tissues indicating disruption of the blood–brain barrier and disturbed cognitive potential.


Diabetic mice are more susceptible to disturbances of cerebral capillary blood flow which may predispose them to neurovascular defects following ischemia.

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