Cognitive impairment is closely associated with the slowing of glucose metabolism in the brain. Glucose transport, a rate-limiting step of glucose metabolism, plays a key role in this phenomenon. Previous studies have reported that limb remote ischemic conditioning (LRIC) improves cognitive performance in rats with chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH). Here, we determined whether LRIC could ameliorate cognitive impairment in rats with CCH by regulating glucose transport. A total of 170 male Sprague-Dawley rats were used. Animals subjected to permanent double carotid artery occlusion (2VO) were assigned to the control or LRIC treatment group. LRIC was applied beginning 3 days after the 2VO surgery. We found that LRIC can improve learning and memory; decrease the ratio of ADP/ATP; increase glucose content; upregulate the expression of pAMPKα, GLUT1 and GLUT3; and increase the number of GLUT1 and GLUT3 transporters in cerebral cortical neurons. The expression of GLUT1 and GLUT3 in the cortex displayed a strong correlation with learning and memory. Pearson correlation analysis showed that the levels of GLUT1 and GLUT3 are correlated with neurological function scores. All of these beneficial effects of LRIC were ablated by application of the AMPK inhibitor, dorsomorphin. In summary, LRIC ameliorated cognitive impairment in rats with CCH by regulating glucose transport via the AMPK/GLUT signaling pathway. We conclude that AMPK-mediated glucose transport plays a key role in LRIC. These data also suggest that supplemental activation of glucose transport after CCH may provide a clinically applicable intervention for improving cognitive impairment.
- Adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase
- Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion
- Cognitive impairment
- Glucose transport
- Limb remote ischemic conditioning