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J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;34(2):349-65. doi: 10.3233/JAD-121171.

SPION-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of Alzheimer's disease plaques in AβPP/PS-1 transgenic mouse brain.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


In our program to develop non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), we have synthesized antibody-conjugated, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) for use as an in vivo agent for MRI detection of amyloid-β plaques in AD. Here we report studies in AβPP/PS1 transgenic mice, which demonstrate the ability of novel anti-AβPP conjugated SPIONs to penetrate the blood-brain barrier to act as a contrast agent for MR imaging of plaques. The conspicuity of the plaques increased from an average Z-score of 5.1 ± 0.5 to 8.3 ± 0.2 when the plaque contrast to noise ratio was compared in control AD mice with AD mice treated with SPIONs. The number of MRI-visible plaques per brain increased from 347 ± 45 in the control AD mice, to 668 ± 86 in the SPION treated mice. These results indicated that our SPION enhanced amyloid-β detection method delivers an efficacious, non-invasive MRI detection method in transgenic mice.

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