The Effects of Vascular Cognitive Impairment on the Thickness of the Granular Cell Layer of the Dentate Gyrus within the Hippocampus in a Mouse Model

Akshaya Radhakrishnan, Nafisa Jadavji


     Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) is a form of dementia, most prevalent after Alzheimer’s Disease. However, VCI remains the second leading cause for dementia because it restricts blood flow to the brain and there are currently no treatments. There has been a positive correlation between VCI and hippocampal atrophy reported. Diet such as deficiencies in folic acid, is a modifiable risk factor for neurodegeneration. In the present study, a mouse model of VCI was combined with a deficiency in folic acid to assess hippocampal morphology. Animals were split into 4 experimental groups where they were placed into a control diet (CD) or folic acid deficient diet (FADD), and later these animals either had microcoils implanted around their common carotid arteries to model VCI or a sham, control surgery.  For hippocampal morphological analysis, the thickness of the granular cell layer of the dentate gyrus within the hippocampus was measured. It was hypothesized that a mouse model of VCI with microcoil treatment and reduced levels of folic acid would reduce blood flow, and increase cell death resulting in a reduced thickness of the granular cell layer within the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Our results show that thickness had an increasing trend in the in the FADD microcoil group. These data suggest that there may be an additional factor coming into play such as compensation by neural stem cells that needs to be further researched.


Vascular Cognitive Impairment; Lesions; Hippocampus; Chronic Hypoperfusion; Folic Acid Deficiency

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