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J Neurosci Res. 2008 Sep;86(12):2802-7. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21707.

MRI detects therapeutic effects in weanling Niemann-Pick type C mice.

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Biomedical Engineering Program, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85724-5073, USA.


To noninvasively evaluate the early effects of Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was carried out in the brains of very young (23-day-old) mice. The diffusion of water in white matter tracts of Npc1(-/-) mice at this young age was already abnormal, exhibiting decreased anisotropy, as quantified by fractional anisotropy (FA), compared with their wild-type littermates, the controls. Postmortem histological staining revealed myelin deficiencies in Npc1(-/-) mice, consistent with the reduction in FA measured in vivo. Beneficial effects of treatment with allopregnanolone and/or 2 hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin was also detectable at this age by FA, which correlated with increased myelination as seen by histology. This is the earliest detection of a therapeutic effect in Npc1(-/-) mice.

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