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Chronic stepwise cerebral hypoperfusion differentially induces synaptic proteome changes in the frontal cortex, occipital cortex, and hippocampus in rats

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During chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH), the cerebral blood flow gradually decreases, leading to cognitive impairments and neurodegenerative disorders, such as vascular dementia. The reduced oxygenation, energy supply induced metabolic changes, and insufficient neuroplasticity could be reflected in the synaptic proteome. We performed stepwise bilateral common carotid occlusions on rats and studied the synaptic proteome changes of the hippocampus, occipital and frontal cortices. Samples were prepared and separated by 2-D DIGE and significantly altered protein spots were identified by HPLC–MS/MS. We revealed an outstanding amount of protein changes in the occipital cortex compared to the frontal cortex and the hippocampus with 94, 33, and 17 proteins, respectively. The high alterations in the occipital cortex are probably due to the hypoxia-induced retrograde degeneration of the primary visual cortex, which was demonstrated by electrophysiological experiments. Altered proteins have functions related to cytoskeletal organization and energy metabolism. As CCH could also be an important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), we investigated whether our altered proteins overlap with AD protein databases. We revealed a significant amount of altered proteins associated with AD in the two neocortical areas, suggesting a prominent overlap with the AD pathomechanism.