Background: The most valid model for vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is the
mouse bilateral common carotid artery stenosis (BCAS), whose behavioral outcomes are supposedly
affected by the remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) through the induction of autophgy. We hope to
determine whether RIC contributes to the neuroprotection through the induction of autophagy.
Methods: Wastar male mice were randomized into three groups including the Sham, the BCAS and
the RIC+BCAS groups. All the animals were submitted to 4 cycles of 5 min occlusion and 5 min
reperfusion of both the femoral vessels performing RIC. Then the animal behaviors were recorded
as well as the expression of proteins and the mRNA levels. Notably, the expression of proteins relates
to autophagy. By this means, it is possible to estimate the cell death, the severity of pathology
and the expression of proteins under different groups.
Results: Compared with the sham group, the expression of proteins increased for ATG7, Beclin-1,
LC3, ATG5-ATG12 while decreased for P62 in the BCAS group. These changes were further promoted
in the RIC+BCAS group, which indicates that the RIC can improve the cognitive function in
the BCAS group. Moreover, RT-PCR demonstrated that the mRNA level of BECN1, Atg5, Atg7 in
white matter (WM) and Hippocampus in BCAS group was higher than the sham group, while it was
much greater in the RIC+BCAS group. This confirmed that the autophagy was activated in the
BCAS and the RIC+BCAS groups, especially the RIC+BCAS group.
Conclusion: Improved cognition during vascular injury and RIC was associated with increased
activity of autophagy.