Background: SBP and blood pressure variability are independent risk factors for cerebral small vessel disease, a leading cause for stroke and dementia. Calcium-channel blockers are known to reduce blood pressure variability and may thus offer benefit against dementia. Beyond this effect, the impact of calcium-channel blockers on hypertension-induced neuroinflammation, and especially, microglial phenotype remains unknown. We aimed to study the ability of amlopidine to alleviate microglia inflammation, and slow down cognitive dysfunction in aged hypertensive mice.
Methods: Hypertensive BPH/2J and normotensive BPN/3J mice were studied until 12 months of age. Hypertensive mice were untreated or received amlodipine (10 mg/kg per day). Blood pressure parameters were measured by telemetry and tail cuff plethysmography. Mice underwent repeated series of cognitive tasks. Brain immunohistochemistry was performed to study blood-brain barrier dysfunction and microglial pro-inflammatory phenotype (CD68 + Iba1 + cells; morphological analysis).
Results: Amlodipine normalized SBP over the entire life span and decreased blood pressure variability. BPH/2J mice exhibited impaired short-term memory that was prevented by amlodipine at 12 months (discrimination index 0.41 ± 0.25 in amlodipine-treated vs. 0.14 ± 0.15 in untreated BPH/2J mice, P = 0.02). Amlopidine treatment of BPH/2J did not prevent blood-brain barrier leakage, a measure of cerebral small vessel disease, but limited its size. Microglia's inflammatory phenotype in BPH/2J, characterized by an increased number of Iba1 + CD68 + cells, increased soma size and shortened processes, was partly reduced by amlodipine.
Conclusion: Amlodipine attenuated the short-term memory impairment in aged hypertensive mice. Beyond its blood pressure lowering capacity, amlodipine may be cerebroprotective by modulating neuroinflammation.
Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.