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Title: Early brain connectivity alterations and cognitive impairment in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease
Author: Muñoz-Moreno, Emma
Tudela Fernández, Raúl
López-Gil, Xavier
Soria, Guadalupe
Keywords: Malaltia d'Alzheimer
Rates (Animals de laboratori)
Imatges per ressonància magnètica
Alzheimer's disease
Rats as laboratory animals
Magnetic resonance imaging
Issue Date: 7-Feb-2018
Abstract: Background: Animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are essential to understanding the disease progression and to development of early biomarkers. Because AD has been described as a disconnection syndrome, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based connectomics provides a highly translational approach to characterizing the disruption in connectivity associated with the disease. In this study, a transgenic rat model of AD (TgF344-AD) was analyzed to describe both cognitive performance and brain connectivity at an early stage (5 months of age) before a significant concentration of β-amyloid plaques is present. Methods: Cognitive abilities were assessed by a delayed nonmatch-to-sample (DNMS) task preceded by a training phase where the animals learned the task. The number of training sessions required to achieve a learning criterion was recorded and evaluated. After DNMS, MRI acquisition was performed, including diffusion-weighted MRI and resting-state functional MRI, which were processed to obtain the structural and functional connectomes, respectively. Global and regional graph metrics were computed to evaluate network organization in both transgenic and control rats. Results: The results pointed to a delay in learning the working memory-related task in the AD rats, which also completed a lower number of trials in the DNMS task. Regarding connectivity properties, less efficient organization of the structural brain networks of the transgenic rats with respect to controls was observed. Specific regional differences in connectivity were identified in both structural and functional networks. In addition, a strong correlation was observed between cognitive performance and brain networks, including whole-brain structural connectivity as well as functional and structural network metrics of regions related to memory and reward processes. Conclusions: In this study, connectivity and neurocognitive impairments were identified in TgF344-AD rats at a very early stage of the disease when most of the pathological hallmarks have not yet been detected. Structural and functional network metrics of regions related to reward, memory, and sensory performance were strongly correlated with the cognitive outcome. The use of animal models is essential for the early identification of these alterations and can contribute to the development of early biomarkers of the disease based on MRI connectomics.
It is part of: Alzheimers Research & Therapy, 2018, vol. 10, num. 16
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ISSN: 1758-9193
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Cirurgia i Especialitats Medicoquirúrgiques)
Articles publicats en revistes (IDIBAPS: Institut d'investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer)

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