Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Diabetes not only increases the risk of stroke, it also worsens the outcomes, increases the risk of hemorrhagic transformation (HT) and impairs recovery after stroke. It is well established that young females are more protected and show better outcomes than males after stroke. However, the impact of diabetes on long term recovery after stroke in both sexes was not clear. Accordingly, this study tested the hypothesis that diabetes impairs long term functional recovery after ischemic stroke in a sex independent manner.
Methods: Diabetes was induced in male and female Wistar rats using high fat diet and low dose streptozotocin (30 mg/Kg). After 8 weeks of diabetes, animals were subjected to embolic stroke. Male and female Wistar normoglycemic age matched rats were used as controls. Motor (composite score: 14 best outcome and adhesive removal-ART) and cognitive (novel object recognition, NOR) deficits were assessed at day1, 3, 7 and 14.
Results: Female control animals had better outcomes compared to the males. Mortality was higher in diabetic animals, especially in males. The neurological deficits were greater in diabetic animals with no difference between males and females.
Conclusion: Diabetes impaired functional and cognitive outcome and recovery after ischemic stroke in a sex independent manner.