Ongoing neurovascular dysfunction contributes to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)-induced cognitive deficits. However, it is not known whether early post onset of T2DM interventions may reduce evolving neurovascular dysfunction and thereby lead to diminution of T2DM-induced cognitive deficits. Using multiple MRI metrics, we evaluated neurovascular changes in T2DM rats treated with exosomes derived from cerebral endothelial cells (CEC-Exos). Two months after induction of T2DM in middle-aged male rats by administration of streptozotocin nicotinamide, rats were randomly treated with CEC-Exos twice weekly or saline for 4 consecutive weeks (n = 10/group). MRI measurements were performed at the end of the treatment, which included cerebral blood flow (CBF), contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging, and relaxation time constants T1 and T2. MRI analysis showed that compared with controls, the CEC-Exo–treated T2DM rats exhibited significant elevation of T2 and CBF in white matter and significant augmentation of T1 and reduction of blood-brain barrier permeability in gray matter. In the hippocampus, CEC-Exo treatment significantly increased T1 and CBF. Furthermore, CEC-Exo treatment significantly reduced T2DM-induced cognitive deficits measured by the Morris water maze and odor recognition tests. Collectively, our corresponding MRI data demonstrate that treatment of T2DM rats with CEC-Exos robustly reduced neurovascular dysfunction in gray and white matter and the hippocampus.

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