Early cortical thickness changes predict β-amyloid deposition in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jun;54:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Feb 27.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have identified aberrant cortical structure in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The association between MRI-derived cortical morphometry measures and β-amyloid, however, remains poorly understood. In this study, we explored the potential relationship between early alterations in cortical thickness and later stage β-amyloid deposition, using a novel approach, in a transgenic AD mouse model. We acquired longitudinal anatomical MRI scans from mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgenic mice and age-matched wild-type mice at 1 and 3.5months-of-age, and employed fully-automated image processing methods to derive objective, quantitative measures of cortical thickness on a region-of-interest basis. We also generated 3D quantitative immunohistochemistry (qIHC) volumes of deposited β-amyloid burden from 18month-old transgenic mice using an automated, production-level process. These studies revealed thinner cortex in most regions in the 1month-old transgenic mice relative to age-matched wild-types, with the exception of the frontal, perirhinal/entorhinal, posterior cingulate, and retrosplenial cortical regions. Between 1 and 3.5months-of-age, the transgenic mice demonstrated stable or increasing cortical thickness, while the wild-type mice showed cortical thinning. Based on data from co-registered 3D MRI and qIHC volumes, we identified an association between abnormal, early, regional cortical thickness change over 2.5months and later β-amyloid deposition. These observations suggest that the spatio-temporal pattern of early (pre-plaque) alterations in cerebral cortical structure is indicative of regional predisposition to later β-amyloid pathology in a transgenic AD mouse model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides