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Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarct and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a Notch3 mutation-induced cerebral small vessel disease, leading to recurrent ischemic stroke and vascular dementia. There is currently no treatment that can stop or delay CADASIL progression. We have demonstrated the efficacy of treatment with combined stem cell factor (SCF) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) (SCF+G-CSF) in reducing cerebral small vessel thrombosis in a TgNotch3R90C mouse model of CADASIL. However, it remains unknown whether SCF+G-CSF treatment protects neurons from microvascular thrombosis-induced ischemic damage. Using bone marrow transplantation to track thrombosis, we observed that capillary thrombosis was widely distributed in the cortex, striatum and hippocampus of 22-month-old TgNotch3R90C mice. However, the capillary thrombosis mainly occurred in the cortex. Neuron loss was seen in the area next to the thrombotic capillaries, and severe neuron loss was found in the areas adjacent to the thrombotic capillaries with bifurcations. SCF+G-CSF repeated treatment significantly attenuated neuron loss in the areas next to the thrombotic capillaries in the cortex of the 22-month-old TgNotch3R90C mice. Neuron loss caused by capillary thrombosis in the cerebral cortex may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of CADASIL. SCF+G-CSF treatment ameliorates the capillary thrombosis-induced ischemic neuron loss in TgNotch3R90C mice. This study provides new insight into the understanding of CADASIL progression and therapeutic potential of SCF+G-CSF in neuroprotection under microvascular ischemia in CADASIL.

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Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology