The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title, first and seventh paragraphs of the linked academic press release here:
New insight into how obesity, insulin resistance can impair cognition
Obesity can break down our protective blood brain barrier resulting in problems with learning and memory, scientists report.
People who have obesity and diabetes have higher rates of cognitive impairment as they age and most of the related structural changes are in the hippocampus, a center of learning and memory and Stranahan’s focus of study.
Masaki Yamamoto, De-Huang Guo, Caterina M. Hernandez, Alexis M. Stranahan.
Endothelial Adora2a activation promotes blood-brain barrier breakdown and cognitive impairment in mice with diet-induced insulin resistance.
The Journal of Neuroscience, 2019; 2506-18
Obesity and insulin resistance elicit blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown in humans and animal models, but the relative contributions of the two pathologies remain poorly understood. These studies initially addressed the temporal progression of cerebrovascular dysfunction relative to dietary obesity or diet-induced insulin resistance in male mice. Obesity increased BBB permeability to the low molecular weight fluorophore sodium fluorescein (NaFl), while diet-induced insulin resistance increased permeability to both NaFl and Evans Blue, which forms a high molecular weight complex with serum albumin. Serial section transmission electron microscopy analysis of hippocampal capillaries revealed that diabetes promotes involution of tight junctions, fenestration of endothelial cells, and pericyte regression. Chronic activation of adenosine receptor 2a (Adora2a) erodes tight junctions between endothelial cells of the cerebral vasculature in other models of chronic neuropathology, and we observed that acute Adora2a antagonism normalized BBB permeability in wildtype (Wt) mice with diet-induced insulin resistance. Experiments in mice with inducible deletion of Adora2a in endothelial cells revealed protection against BBB breakdown with diet-induced insulin resistance, despite comparable metabolic dysfunction relative to nontransgenic littermates. Protection against BBB breakdown was associated with decreased vascular inflammation, recovery of hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and restoration of hippocampus-dependent memory. These findings indicate that Adora2a-mediated signaling in vascular endothelial cells disrupts the BBB in dietary obesity, and implicate cerebrovascular dysfunction as the underlying mechanism for deficits in synaptic plasticity and cognition with obesity and insulin resistance.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) restricts the entry of circulating factors into the brain, but obesity promotes BBB breakdown in humans and animal models. We used transgenic mice with resistance to BBB breakdown to investigate the role of neurovascular dysfunction in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced cognitive impairment. Transgenic mice with inducible ablation of Adora2a in endothelial cells were protected against BBB breakdown on HFD, despite comparable metabolic impairments relative to normal mice. Transgenic mice were also resistant to HFD-induced cognitive dysfunction and were protected against deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity. These findings indicate that Adora2a-mediated signaling in endothelial cells mediates obesity-induced BBB breakdown, and implicate cerebrovascular dysfunction as the mechanism for deficits in synaptic plasticity and cognition with obesity and diabetes.