Association of Aortic Atherosclerosis with Cerebral β-Amyloidosis and Learning Deficits in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Ling Li, Dongfeng Cao, David W. Garber, Helen Kim, Ken Ichiro Fukuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


High fat/high cholesterol diets exacerbate β-amyloidosis in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been impossible, however, to study the relationship between atherosclerosis and β-amyloidosis; in those models because such mice were on atherosclerosis-resistant genetic backgrounds. Here we report the establishment of AD model mice, B6Tg2576, that are prone to atherosclerosis. B6Tg2576 mice were produced by back-crossing Tg2576 mice, an AD mouse model overexpressing human amyloid β-protein precursor with the Swedish double mutation, to C57BL/6 mice, a strain susceptible to diet-induced atherosclerosis. An atherogenic diet induced aortic atherosclerosis and exacerbated cerebral β-amyloidosis in B6Tg2576 mice. Compared with age-matched non-transgenic littermates, B6Tg2576 mice developed significantly more diet-induced aortic atherosclerosis. Unexpectedly, normal diet-fed B6Tg2576 mice also developed fatty streak lesions (early atherosclerosis) in the aorta. The aortic atherosclerotic lesion area positively correlated with cerebral β-amyloid deposits in B6Tg2576 mice on both atherogenic and normal diets. Furthermore, behavioral assessments demonstrated that B6Tg2576 mice fed an atherogenic diet had more spatial learning impairment than those fed a normal diet. Our results suggest that synergistic mechanisms may be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and AD. These findings may have important implications in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases as well as AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2155-2164
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


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