Diabetes-associated cognitive impairment (DACI) can increase the risk of major cardiovascular events and death. Neuronal functionality is highly dependent on mitochondria and emerging evidence has shown that mitochondrial transplantation is a potential and effective strategy that can reduce brain injury and associated disorders. Platelets are abundant in blood and can be considered a readily available source of small-size mitochondria. These cells can be easily acquired from the peripheral blood with minimal invasion via simple venipuncture. The present study aimed to investigate whether transplantation of platelet-derived mitochondria (Mito-Plt) could improve DACI. Cognitive behaviors were assessed using the Morris water maze test in db/db mice. The results demonstrated that Mito-Plt was internalized into hippocampal neurons 24 h following intracerebroventricular injection. Importantly, one month following Mito-Plt transplantation, DACI was alleviated in db/db mice and the effect was accompanied with increased mitochondrial number, restored mitochondrial function, attenuated oxidative stress and neuronal apoptosis, as well as decreased accumulation of Aβ and Tau in the hippocampus. Taken together, the data demonstrated that transplantation of Mito-Plt attenuated cognitive impairment and mitochondrial dysfunction in db/db mice. This method may be a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of DACI.

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