Altered brain development in an early-onset murine model of Alzheimer's disease.
Allemang-Grand R., Scholz J., Ellegood J., Cahill LS., Laliberté C., Fraser PE., Josselyn SA., Sled JG., Lerch JP.
Murine models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been used to draw associations between atrophy of neural tissue and underlying pathology. In this study, the early-onset TgCRND8 mouse model of AD and littermate controls were scanned longitudinally with in vivo manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) before and after the onset of amyloid plaque deposition at 12 weeks of age. Separate cohorts of mice were scanned at 1 week (ex vivo imaging) and 4 weeks (MEMRI) of age to investigate early life alterations in the brain. Contrary to our expectations, differences in neuroanatomy were found in early post-natal life, preceding plaque deposition by as much as 11 weeks. Many of these differences remained at all imaging time points, suggesting that they were programmed early in life and were unaffected by the onset of pathology. Furthermore, rather than showing atrophy, many regions of the TgCRND8 brain grew at a faster rate compared to controls. These regions contained the greatest density of amyloid plaques and reactive astrocytes. Our findings suggest that pathological processes as well as an alteration in brain development influence the TgCRND8 neuroanatomy throughout the lifespan.