In vivo quantitative whole-brain diffusion tensor imaging analysis of APP/PS1 transgenic mice using voxel-based and atlas-based methods
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- Qin, YY., Li, MW., Zhang, S. et al. Neuroradiology (2013) 55: 1027. doi:10.1007/s00234-013-1195-0
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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been applied to characterize the pathological features of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a mouse model, although little is known about whether these features are structure specific. Voxel-based analysis (VBA) and atlas-based analysis (ABA) are good complementary tools for whole-brain DTI analysis. The purpose of this study was to identify the spatial localization of disease-related pathology in an AD mouse model.
VBA and ABA quantification were used for the whole-brain DTI analysis of nine APP/PS1 mice and wild-type (WT) controls. Multiple scalar measurements, including fractional anisotropy (FA), trace, axial diffusivity (DA), and radial diffusivity (DR), were investigated to capture the various types of pathology. The accuracy of the image transformation applied for VBA and ABA was evaluated by comparing manual and atlas-based structure delineation using kappa statistics. Following the MR examination, the brains of the animals were analyzed for microscopy.
Extensive anatomical alterations were identified in APP/PS1 mice, in both the gray matter areas (neocortex, hippocampus, caudate putamen, thalamus, hypothalamus, claustrum, amygdala, and piriform cortex) and the white matter areas (corpus callosum/external capsule, cingulum, septum, internal capsule, fimbria, and optic tract), evidenced by an increase in FA or DA, or both, compared to WT mice (p < 0.05, corrected). The average kappa value between manual and atlas-based structure delineation was approximately 0.8, and there was no significant difference between APP/PS1 and WT mice (p > 0.05). The histopathological changes in the gray matter areas were confirmed by microscopy studies. DTI did, however, demonstrate significant changes in white matter areas, where the difference was not apparent by qualitative observation of a single-slice histological specimen.
This study demonstrated the structure-specific nature of pathological changes in APP/PS1 mouse, and also showed the feasibility of applying whole-brain analysis methods to the investigation of an AD mouse model.