Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(2):482-493. doi:10.7150/ijms.36775 This issue

Research Paper

Vasculotide restores the blood-brain barrier after focused ultrasound-induced permeability in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Madelaine Lynch1,2, Stefan Heinen1, Kelly Markham-Coultes1, Meaghan O'Reilly3,4, Paul Van Slyke5, Daniel J. Dumont1,4#, Kullervo Hynynen3,4, Isabelle Aubert1,2✉

1. Biological Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, 2075 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5.
2. Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto, 27 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S 1A1.
3. Physical Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, 2075 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5.
4. Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, 101 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5G 1L7.
5. Vasomune Therapeutics, 661 University Ave #465, Toronto, ON M5G 1M1.
#In memory of Daniel J. Dumont, deceased.

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Citation:
Lynch M, Heinen S, Markham-Coultes K, O'Reilly M, Van Slyke P, Dumont DJ, Hynynen K, Aubert I. Vasculotide restores the blood-brain barrier after focused ultrasound-induced permeability in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(2):482-493. doi:10.7150/ijms.36775. Available from https://www.medsci.org/v18p0482.htm

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Abstract

Focused ultrasound (FUS) is used to locally and transiently induce blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, allowing targeted drug delivery to the brain. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the potential of Vasculotide to accelerate the recovery of the BBB following FUS disruption in the TgCRND8 mouse model of amyloidosis, characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Accelerating the restoration of the BBB post-FUS would represent an additional safety procedure, which could be beneficial for clinical applications.

Methods: TgCRND8 mice and their non-transgenic littermates were treated with Vasculotide (250 ng, intraperitoneal) every 48 hours for 3 months. BBB permeability was induced using FUS, in presence of intravenously injected microbubbles, in TgCRND8 and non-transgenic mice, and confirmed at time 0 by MRI enhancement using the contrast agent gadolinium. BBB closure was assessed at 6, 12 and 20 hours by MRI. In a separate cohort of animals, BBB closure was assessed at 24-hours post-FUS using Evans blue injected intravenously and followed by histological evaluation.

Results: Chronic Vasculotide administration significantly reduces the ultra-harmonic threshold required for FUS-induced BBB permeability in the TgCRND8 mice. In addition, Vasculotide treatment led to a faster restoration of the BBB following FUS in TgCRND8 mice. BBB closure after FUS is not significantly different between TgCRND8 and non-transgenic mice. BBB permeability was assessed by gadolinium up to 20-hours post-FUS, demonstrating 87% closure in Vasculotide treated TgCRND8 mice, as opposed to 52% in PBS treated TgCRND8 mice, 58% in PBS treated non-transgenic mice, and 74% in Vasculotide treated non-transgenic mice. In both TgCRND8 mice and non-transgenic littermates the BBB was impermeable to Evans blue dye at 24-hours post-FUS.

Conclusion: Vasculotide reduces the pressure required for microbubble ultra-harmonic onset for FUS-induced BBB permeability and it accelerates BBB restoration in a mouse model of amyloidosis, suggesting its potential clinical utility to promote vascular health, plasticity and repair in AD.

Keywords: Vasculotide, blood-brain barrier, transcranial focused ultrasound, Alzheimer's disease