Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion impairs neurogenesis and hippocampal-dependent learning and memory

Kirsten S. Evonuk, Sumanth D. Prabhu, Martin E. Young, Tara M. DeSilva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The incidence of cognitive impairment in cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients has increased, adversely impacting quality of life and imposing a significant economic burden. Brain imaging of CVD patients has detected changes in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for normal learning and memory. However, it is not clear whether adverse cardiac events or other associated co-morbidities impair cognition. Here, using a murine model of acute myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), where the coronary artery was occluded for 30 min followed by reperfusion, we tested the hypothesis that acute myocardial infarction triggers impairment in cognitive function. Two months following cardiac I/R, behavioral assessments specific for hippocampal cognitive function were performed. Mice subjected to cardiac I/R performed worse in the fear-conditioning paradigm as well as the object location memory behavioral test compared to sham-operated mice. Reactive gliosis was apparent in the hippocampal subregions CA1, CA3, and dentate gyrus 72 h post-cardiac I/R as compared with sham, which was sustained two months post-cardiac I/R. Consistent with the inflammatory response, the abundance of doublecortin positive newborn neurons was decreased in the dentate gyrus 72 h and 2 months post-cardiac I/R as compared with sham. Therefore, we conclude that following acute myocardial infarction, rapid inflammatory responses negatively affect neurogenesis, which may underlie long-term changes in learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Cognition
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Reactive gliosis


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