The sensitivity of multiple diffusion MRI (dMRI) parameters to longitudinal changes in white matter microstructure was investigated for the 3xTg-AD transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, which manifests both amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. By employing a specific dMRI method known as diffusional kurtosis imaging, eight different diffusion parameters were quantified to characterize distinct aspects of water diffusion. Four female 3xTg-AD mice were imaged at five time points, ranging from 4.5 to 18 months of age, and the diffusion parameters were investigated in four white matter regions (fimbria, external capsule, internal capsule and corpus callosum). Significant changes were observed in several diffusion parameters, particularly in the fimbria and in the external capsule, with a statistically significant decrease in diffusivity and a statistically significant increase in kurtosis. Our preliminary results demonstrate that dMRI can detect microstructural changes in white matter for the 3xTg-AD mouse model due to aging and/or progression of pathology, depending strongly on the diffusion parameter and anatomical region.
Keywords: 3xTg-AD mouse; Alzheimer's disease; Diffusion MRI; Diffusional kurtosis imaging; White matter.
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