T1, diffusion tensor, and quantitative magnetization transfer imaging of the hippocampus in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model

Publication date: July 2018
Source:Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Volume 50
Author(s): Heather T. Whittaker, Shenghua Zhu, Domenico L. Di Curzio, Richard Buist, Xin-Min Li, Suzanna Noy, Frances K. Wiseman, Jonathan D. Thiessen, Melanie Martin
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology causes microstructural changes in the brain. These changes, if quantified with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), could be studied for use as an early biomarker for AD. The aim of our study was to determine if T1 relaxation, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and quantitative magnetization transfer imaging (qMTI) metrics could reveal changes within the hippocampus and surrounding white matter structures in ex vivo transgenic mouse brains overexpressing human amyloid precursor protein with the Swedish mutation. Delineation of hippocampal cell layers using DTI color maps allows more detailed analysis of T1-weighted imaging, DTI, and qMTI metrics, compared with segmentation of gross anatomy based on relaxation images, and with analysis of DTI or qMTI metrics alone. These alterations are observed in the absence of robust intracellular Aβ accumulation or plaque deposition as revealed by histology. This work demonstrates that multiparametric quantitative MRI methods are useful for characterizing changes within the hippocampal substructures and surrounding white matter tracts of mouse models of AD.

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