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Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jun;54:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Early cortical thickness changes predict β-amyloid deposition in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Small Animal Imaging Lab, McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 2B4, Canada.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have identified aberrant cortical structure in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The association between MRI-derived cortical morphometry measures and β-amyloid, however, remains poorly understood. In this study, we explored the potential relationship between early alterations in cortical thickness and later stage β-amyloid deposition, using a novel approach, in a transgenic AD mouse model. We acquired longitudinal anatomical MRI scans from mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice and age-matched wild-type mice at 1 and 3.5months-of-age, and employed fully-automated image processing methods to derive objective, quantitative measures of cortical thickness on a region-of-interest basis. We also generated 3D quantitative immunohistochemistry (qIHC) volumes of deposited β-amyloid burden from 18month-old transgenic mice using an automated, production-level process. These studies revealed thinner cortex in most regions in the 1month-old transgenic mice relative to age-matched wild-types, with the exception of the frontal, perirhinal/entorhinal, posterior cingulate, and retrosplenial cortical regions. Between 1 and 3.5months-of-age, the transgenic mice demonstrated stable or increasing cortical thickness, while the wild-type mice showed cortical thinning. Based on data from co-registered 3D MRI and qIHC volumes, we identified an association between abnormal, early, regional cortical thickness change over 2.5months and later β-amyloid deposition. These observations suggest that the spatio-temporal pattern of early (pre-plaque) alterations in cerebral cortical structure is indicative of regional predisposition to later β-amyloid pathology in a transgenic AD mouse model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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