Impaired cognitive performance in endothelial nitric oxide synthase knockout mice after ischemic stroke

Shanshan Li, Yao Wang, Ze Jiang, Yaping Huai, James K. Liao, Kaari A. Lynch, Ross Zafonte, Lisa Wood, Qing Mei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objectives Cognitive dysfunction and dementia are common following ischemic stroke. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) has been found to play an important role in neurologic function and cognition. The purpose of the present study was to assess the specific role of eNOS in cognitive performance after stroke. Design Male wild-type and mice lacking eNOS (eNOS -/-) underwent middle cerebral artery occlusion or sham-surgery. Primary outcomes were repeated measures of neurologic score, limb asymmetry, sensory/motor function, and spatial memory/learning assessed at intervals up to 28 days postsurgery. Group differences in brain microglia activation and infiltration and levels of interferon-gamma were examined. Results There was no genotype × surgery interaction effect on the pattern of change in neurologic score, limb asymmetry, or sensory motor function across the 28 days postsurgery. In the Morris water maze, eNOS -/- middle cerebral artery occlusion mice displayed learning and memory deficits not evident in wild-type middle cerebral artery occlusion mice. Poorer spatial memory and learning in eNOS -/- middle cerebral artery occlusion mice was associated with a reduction in the number of activated microglia in the striatum on the lesion side and decreased brain tissue levels of interferon-gamma. Conclusions This study's data support a role for eNOS in cognitive performance after stroke. This finding may lead to the development of novel interventions to treat poststroke cognitive deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-499
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • eNOS
  • Memory
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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