Neuronal changes after chronic high blood pressure in animal models and its implication for vascular dementia

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Vascular dementia is a devastating disorder not only for the patient, but also for the family because this neurocognitive disorder breaks the patient's independence, and leads to family care of the patient with a high cost for the family. This complex disorder alters memory, learning, judgment, emotional control and social behavior and affects 4% of the elderly world population. The high blood pressure or arterial hypertension is a major risk factor for cerebrovascular disease, which in most cases leads to vascular dementia. Interestingly, this neurocognitive disorder starts after long lasting hypertension, which is associated with reduced cerebral blood flow or hypoperfusion, and complete or incomplete ischemia with cortical thickness. Animal models have been generated to elucidate the pathophysiology of this disorder. It is known that dendritic complexity determines the receptive synaptic contacts, and the loss of dendritic spine and arbor stability are strongly associated with dementia in humans. This review evaluates relevant data of human and animal models that have investigated the link between long-lasting arterial hypertension and neural morphological changes in the context of vascular dementia. We examined the effect of chronic arterial hypertension and aged in vascular dementia. Neural dendritic morphology in the prefrontal cortex and the dorsal hippocampus and nucleus accumbens after chronic hypertension was diskussed in the animal models of hypertension. Chronic hypertension reduced the dendritic length and spine density in aged rats. Synapse, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Synapse 70:198–205, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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