Progressive Cognitive Deficits in a Mouse Model of Recurrent Photothrombotic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

In spite of its high disease burden, there is no specific treatment for multi-infarct dementia. The preclinical evaluation of candidate drugs is limited because an appropriate animal model is lacking. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate whether a mouse model of recurrent photothrombotic stroke is suitable for the preclinical investigation of multi-infarct dementia.


Recurrent photothrombotic cortical infarcts were induced in 25 adult C57BL/6 mice. Twenty-five sham-operated animals served as controls. The object recognition test and the Morris water maze test were performed >6 weeks to assess cognitive deficits. Afterward, histological analyses were performed to characterize histopathologic changes associated with recurrent photothrombotic infarcts.


After the first infarct, the object recognition test showed a trend toward an impaired formation of recognition memories (P=0.08), and the Morris Water Maze test revealed significantly impaired spatial learning and memory functions (P<0.05). After recurrent infarcts, the object recognition test showed significant recognition memory deficits (P<0.001) and the Morris water maze test demonstrated persisting spatial learning and memory deficits (P<0.05). Histological analyses revealed remote astrogliosis in the hippocampus.


Our results show progressive cognitive deficits in a mouse model of recurrent photothrombotic stroke. The presented model resembles the clinical features of human multi-infarct dementia and enables the investigation of its pathophysiological mechanisms and the evaluation of treatment strategies.

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