Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease where plaques made up of lipids in the form of cholesterol ester build up in the carotid and innominate arteries that supply blood to the brain. Accumulation of the plaques limit the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain, leading to diminished oxygen supply, increased oxidative stress and cell death. All these have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alzheimer's disease, a chronic, progressive, age related neurodegenerative disorder is the most common form of dementia in the elderly accounting for 60-80% of the cases. Clinically, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by loss of memory, damage of brain tissues, and neuronal and synaptic loss. Pathologically, it is delineated by accumulation of amyloid beta and tau proteins forming senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles respectively. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphism, increased oxidative stress and products of lipid peroxidation are associated with atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. ApoE is a glycosylated protein that mediates plasma lipoprotein metabolism. ApoE isoforms have differential effect on amyloid beta aggregation and clearance, thus playing an important role in Alzheimer's pathology. Serum paraoxonase 1 (PON1) is a lipoprotein associated antioxidant enzyme that prevents lipid peroxidation. S100B protein is a plasma biomarker, altered expression of which has been implied in AD. We propose the hypothesis that combined deficiencies in apolipoprotein E and antioxidant defense (established by the lack of PON1), together with dyslipidemia and development of carotid atherosclerosis in aging mice would reflect Alzheimer's pathology. The brains of young and old ApoE-PON1 double knockout (DKO) mice and control C57BL/6J mice were harvested. Atherosclerotic lesions were quantified by Image J. RNA was isolated, cDNA was synthesized and quantitative RT-PCR was performed to detect mRNA levels of S100B. Blood levels of S100B protein was measured by ELISA. Brain tissues were stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin stain and 4G8 immunostain to detect histopathological changes. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is altered in AD resulting in increased permeability and vascular dysfunction. The vascular permeability of BBB was analyzed by Evans Blue Dye (EBD) assay. The results showed that the older DKO mice had severe carotid atherosclerosis, increased levels of serum S100B protein and elevated mRNA levels of S100B. Histological examination showed the presence of characteristic hallmarks of AD. The leakage of EBD into brain parenchyma indicated disruption of BBB. The results suggest that diminished blood flow and nutrient supply to the brain due to atherosclerosis and increased oxidative stress might contribute to Alzheimer's pathology. We suggest that older ApoE-PON1 DKO mice may serve as a model of Alzheimer's disease and prevention of atherosclerosis might promote regression of Alzheimer's disease.


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Graduation Date





Parthasarathy, Sampath


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Medicine


Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Degree Program










Release Date

December 2017

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Biotechnology Commons