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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Microglial-mediated inflammatory responses and perturbed vasculature in an animal model of inflamed Alzheimer's disease brain Ryu, Jae Kyu


Chronic inflammation in response to Aß peptide deposits is a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The inflammatory environment includes populations of reactive and proliferating microglia and astrocytes and perturbed vasculature. However, the association between activated glial cells and cerebrovascular dysfunction remain largely unknown. This study has used Aß1-42 intrahippocampal injection as an animal model of inflamed AD brain to characterize mechanisms of glial-vasculature responses as a basis for chronic inflammation. Preliminary findings suggested Aß1-42-injected brain demonstrated vascular remodeling including evidence for formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). This result led to study of the effects of the anti-angiogenic/anti-inflammatory compound, thalidomide on activated glial cells and perturbations in the vasculature in an Aß1-42 peptide-injected rat model. First, Aß1-42 injection was found to cause perturbations in vasculature including new blood vessel formation and increased BBB leakiness. Second, thalidomide decreased the vascular perturbations and the glial reactivity and conferred neuroprotection. Overall, these results suggest that altered cerebral vasculature is integral to the overall inflammatory response induced by peptide. Experiments then examined the level of parenchymal plasma proteins in brain tissue from AD and nondemented (ND) individuals. AD, but not ND, brain tissue demonstrated high levels of fibrinogen immunoreactivity (ir). Aß1_42 injection into the rat hippocampus increased the level of parenchymal fibrinogen, which was reduced by treatment with the defibrinogenating agent, ancrod. In addition, ancrod also attenuated microglial activation and prevented neuronal injury. Overall, these results demonstrate that extravasation of blood protein and a leaky BBB are important in promoting and amplifying inflammatory responses and causing neuronal damage in inflamed AD brain. Microglial chemotactic responses to VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) receptor Flt-1 were next studied. Treatment with a monoclonal antibody to Flt-1 (anti-Flt-1 Ab) in the peptide-injected hippocampus diminished microglial reactivity and provided neuroprotection. Secondly, anti-Flt-1 Ab inhibited the AI3142-induced migration of human microglia. These results suggest critical functional roles for Flt-1 in mediating microglial chemotaxis and inflammatory responses in AD brain. The overall conclusion from my work is that AP deposits induce microglial reactivity which subsequently causes vascular remodeling resulting in an amplified inflammatory microenvironment which is damaging to bystander neurons.

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