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PLoS One. 2016 Jul 28;11(7):e0159463. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159463. eCollection 2016.

3D Visualization of the Temporal and Spatial Spread of Tau Pathology Reveals Extensive Sites of Tau Accumulation Associated with Neuronal Loss and Recognition Memory Deficit in Aged Tau Transgenic Mice.

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Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States of America.
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States of America.
Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Litwin-Zucker Center for Research in Alzheimer's Disease, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, North Shore/LIJ Health System, Manhasset, New York, United States of America.


3D volume imaging using iDISCO+ was applied to observe the spatial and temporal progression of tau pathology in deep structures of the brain of a mouse model that recapitulates the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tau pathology was compared at four timepoints, up to 34 months as it spread through the hippocampal formation and out into the neocortex along an anatomically connected route. Tau pathology was associated with significant gliosis. No evidence for uptake and accumulation of tau by glia was observed. Neuronal cells did appear to have internalized tau, including in extrahippocampal areas as a small proportion of cells that had accumulated human tau protein did not express detectible levels of human tau mRNA. At the oldest timepoint, mature tau pathology in the entorhinal cortex (EC) was associated with significant cell loss. As in human AD, mature tau pathology in the EC and the presence of tau pathology in the neocortex correlated with cognitive impairment. 3D volume imaging is an ideal technique to easily monitor the spread of pathology over time in models of disease progression.

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