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Translational Challenge Models in Support of Efficacy Studies: Effect of Cerebral Hypoxia on Cognitive Performances in Rodents

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 7 ]

Author(s):

Julie Deguil, Laura Ravasi, Laura Lanteaume, Yves Lamberty and Regis Bordet   Pages 765 - 776 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Empirical evidence currently supports the idea that neurovascular dysfunction is involved in the neurodegenerative process of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In fact, epidemiological studies report that i) vascular risk factors are directly associated with an increased incidence of AD and ii) vascular lesions are frequently co-existent with AD. The neurovascular unit is a key control system for oxygen and nutrients exchange between neurons and microvessels so the integrity of this system is essential for neuronal activity and cell survival. This suggests that hypoxia arising from various vascular injuries may participate in the pathogenesis of AD and aggravate cognitive deficit. Moreover, hypoxia appears to have a direct effect on cognitive functions, in particular memory, by inducing a transient or definitive dysfunction of synaptic transmission. The interplay of hypoxic phenomenon and the development of AD-related pathologies support the use of hypoxia as a challenge model to assess symptomatic (i.e. cognitive enhancers) AD-treatment. Such challenge should be characterized and validated with current symptomatic drugs based on different mechanisms of action before being offered as alternative models for testing new drugs. To date, symptomatic treatments of AD including anticholinesterasic- (donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine) and antiglutamatergic- (memantine) drugs target various neurotransmission impairments occurring at different stages of the disease. The first aim of the present review is to provide an overview of the methods used to achieve experimental hypoxia in rodents and to characterize the cognitive alterations induced by each method. The second objective is to summarize the main results from studies that have tested the effect of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors on hypoxiainduced cognitive impairment. Overall, the literature research yielded only a small number of studies investigating the effect of hypoxia on cognition in rodents and the different models described sometime differ substantially in terms of timing, severity and nature of cognitive impairment. Chronic exposure to intermittent normobaric or continuous hypobaric hypoxia induced persistent spatial reference and working memory alterations. In contrast, acute hypoxia exposure was shown to induce more transient associative and spatial memory impairments. Treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors was shown to improve hypoxia-induced memory impairment in various hypoxia protocols.

Keywords:

Alzheimer’s disease, cognition, rodent model, hypoxia, symptomatic treatments.

Affiliation:

Département de Pharmacologie Médicale-Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Université Lille-Nord-de-France, Faculté de Médecine, 1, Place de Verdun, 59-045, Lille Cedex, France.



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