Following spatial Aβ aggregation dynamics in evolving Alzheimer's disease pathology by imaging stable isotope labeling kinetics

Sci Adv. 2021 Jun 16;7(25):eabg4855. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg4855. Print 2021 Jun.


β-Amyloid (Aβ) plaque formation is the major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and constitutes a potentially critical, early inducer driving AD pathogenesis as it precedes other pathological events and cognitive symptoms by decades. It is therefore critical to understand how Aβ pathology is initiated and where and when distinct Aβ species aggregate. Here, we used metabolic isotope labeling in APPNL-G-F knock-in mice together with mass spectrometry imaging to monitor the earliest seeds of Aβ deposition through ongoing plaque development. This allowed visualizing Aβ aggregation dynamics within single plaques across different brain regions. We show that formation of structurally distinct plaques is associated with differential Aβ peptide deposition. Specifically, Aβ1-42 is forming an initial core structure followed by radial outgrowth and late secretion and deposition of Aβ1-38. These data describe a detailed picture of the earliest events of precipitating amyloid pathology at scales not previously possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides