Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Chronic Kidney Disease Increases Cerebral Microbleeds in Mouse and Man


Brain microbleeds are increased in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their presence increases risk of cognitive decline and stroke. We examined the interaction between CKD and brain microhemorrhages (the neuropathological substrate of microbleeds) in mouse and cell culture models and studied progression of microbleed burden on serial brain imaging from humans. Mouse studies: Two CKD models were investigated: adenine-induced tubulointerstitial nephritis and surgical 5/6 nephrectomy. Cell culture studies: bEnd.3 mouse brain endothelial cells were grown to confluence, and monolayer integrity was measured after exposure to 5-15% human uremic serum or increasing concentrations of urea. Human studies: Progression of brain microbleeds was evaluated on serial MRI from control, pre-dialysis CKD, and dialysis patients. Microhemorrhages were increased 2-2.5-fold in mice with CKD independent of higher blood pressure in the 5/6 nephrectomy model. IgG staining was increased in CKD animals, consistent with increased blood-brain barrier permeability. Incubation of bEnd.3 cells with uremic serum or elevated urea produced a dose-dependent drop in trans-endothelial electrical resistance. Elevated urea induced actin cytoskeleton derangements and decreased claudin-5 expression. In human subjects, prevalence of microbleeds was 50% in both CKD cohorts compared with 10% in age-matched controls. More patients in the dialysis cohort had increased microbleeds on follow-up MRI after 1.5 years. CKD disrupts the blood-brain barrier and increases brain microhemorrhages in mice and microbleeds in humans. Elevated urea alters the actin cytoskeleton and tight junction proteins in cultured endothelial cells, suggesting that these mechanisms explain (at least in part) the microhemorrhages and microbleeds observed in the animal and human studies.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View