Research tools are urgently needed to elucidate the specificities of NMO and MS due to their clinical similarity at the early stage of the diseases. Herein, using high-field-strength MRI we characterized the optic nerve and spinal cord lesions in 2D2(tg) mice (MOG 35-55 specific TCR). Specifically, early Blood-brain Barrier breakdown was observed in 86% of the 2D2(tg) mice, while the majority of mice showed little to no brain lesions. Further, immunohistology showed inflammatory infiltrates and demyelination in the brain and spinal cord that mirrored sites of MRI lesions, along with a decrease in AQP4 protein at lesion sites. Collectively, 2D2(tg) mice develop optic and spinal cord lesions that can be visualized by high-field rodent MRI and verified by pathological assessment. The similarity of these lesions with those seen in NMO patients suggests that the 2D2(tg) mouse might serve as a model for NMO research.
Keywords: MRI; Multiple sclerosis; Neuromyelitis Optica; TCR transgenic mice.