Diabetes mellitus (DM) significantly increases susceptibility to central nervous system (CNS) pathologies, including stroke, vascular dementia, cognitive deficits and Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies (mostly using the streptozotocin model) suggested that blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption is involved in these conditions. Here, we examined the integrity of brain capillaries and BBB permeability in Lepr db/db obesity-related diabetic mice. Surprisingly, significant BBB leakage was observed only in young mice at the pre-hyperglycemic stage. Thorough examination of barrier permeability at later diabetic stages showed no evidence for significant BBB leakage during the hyperglycemic state. Electron microscopy imaging of mice with short-term hyperglycaemia supported normal BBB permeability but indicated other stress-related changes in capillary ultrastructure, such as mitochondrial degeneration. Based on our study with this mouse genetic model of obesity-related DM, we suggest that previously reported hyperglycaemia-induced BBB leakage is most likely not the underlying mechanism of DM-related CNS pathologies. Finally we propose that BBB hyper-permeability might be an early and transient phenomenon while stress-related endothelial pathologies do correlate with a short-term diabetic state.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).