Document Type


Date of Original Version



Diabetes is strongly linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), though the mechanisms for this enhanced risk are unclear. Because vascular inflammation is a consistent feature of both diabetes and AD, the cerebral microcirculation could be a key target for the effects of diabetes in the brain. The goal of this study is to explore whether brain endothelial cells, injured by diabetes-related insults, glucose and hypoxia, can affect inflammatory and activation processes in microglia in vitro. Human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVECs) were either treated with 5 mM glucose (control), 30 mM glucose (high glucose), exposed to hypoxia, or exposed to hypoxia plus high glucose. HBMVEC-conditioned medium was then used to treat BV-2 microglia. Alterations in microglia phenotype were assessed through measurement of nitric oxide (NO), cytokine production, microglial activation state markers, and microglial phagocytosis. HBMVECs were injured by exposure to glucose and/or hypoxia, as assessed by release of LDH, interleukin (IL)-1β, and reactive oxygen species (ROS). HBMVECs injured by glucose and hypoxia induced increases in microglial production of NO, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9. Injured HBMVECs significantly increased microglial expression of CD11c and CLEC7A, and decreased expression of the homeostatic marker P2RY12. Finally, bead uptake by BV-2 cells, an index of phagocytic ability, was elevated by conditioned media from injured HBMVECs. The demonstration that injury to brain endothelial cells by diabetic-associated insults, glucose and hypoxia, promotes microglial inflammation supports the idea that the cerebral microcirculation is a critical locus for the deleterious effects of diabetes in the AD brain.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.