Aging-dependent vascular dementia in the mouse brain
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The prevalence and incidence of aging-dependent dementia is increasing with the rapid growth rate of the aging population in our society. The present study aimed to test three hypotheses: (1) Aging is associated with increased micro-hemorrhages in the brain. (2) Aging-dependent dementia can be due to vascular disease. (3) The mouse is a valid model to study aging-dependent changes in the brain. To test these hypotheses, histology, MRI, and behavior methods were utilized in the C57BL/6JN mouse model to collect data at the cellular, anatomical, and behavioral levels. The results obtained support all three hypotheses. Furthermore, the present study, for the first time, demonstrates that the mouse thalamus is the most vulnerable brain region for age-dependent microhemorrhage accumulation. The thalamic damage is associated with aging-dependent increases in aortic stiffness, as well as recognition memory deficits. This study is relevant to researchers and physicians in that significant accumulation of brain lesion was observed in middle age, earlier than previously reported.