Tsenkina Y, Ruzov A, Gliddon C, Horsburgh K, De Sousa PA
White matter abnormalities due to age-related cerebrovascular alterations is a common pathological hallmark associated with functional impairment in the elderly which has been modeled in chronically hypoperfused mice. 5-Methylcytosine (5mC) and its oxidized derivative 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) are DNA modifications that have been recently linked with age-related neurodegeneration and cerebrovascular pathology. Here we conducted a pilot investigation of whether chronic cerebral hypoperfusion might affect genomic distribution of these modifications and/ or a Ten-Eleven Translocation protein 2 (TET2) which catalyses hydroxymethylation in white and grey matter regions of this animal model. Immunohistochemical evaluation of sham and chronically hypoperfused mice a month after surgery revealed significant (p<0.05) increases in the proportion of 5hmC positive cells, Iba1 positive inflammatory microglia, and NG2 positive oligodendroglial progenitors in the hypoperfused corpus callosum. In the same white matter tract there was an absence of hypoperfusion-induced alterations in the proportion of 5mC, TET2 positive cells and CC1 positive mature oligodrendrocytes. Correlation analysis across animals within both treatment groups demonstrated a significant association of the elevated 5hmC levels with increases in the proportion of inflammatory microglia only (p=0.01) in the corpus callosum. In vitro studies revealed that 5hmC is lost during oligodendroglial maturation but not microglial activation. Additionally, TET1, TET2, and TET3 protein levels showed dynamic alterations during oligodendroglial development and following oxidative stress in vitro. Our study suggests that 5hmC exhibits white matter tract and cell type specific dynamics following chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in mice.