Altered diffusion tensor imaging measurements in aged transgenic Huntington disease rats
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Brain structure & function. - Heidelberg, 2007, currens
, p. 767-778
University of Antwerp
Rodent models of Huntington disease (HD) are valuable tools for investigating HD pathophysiology and evaluating new therapeutic approaches. Non-invasive characterization of HD-related phenotype changes is important for monitoring progression of pathological processes and possible effects of interventions. The first transgenic rat model for HD exhibits progressive late-onset affective, cognitive, and motor impairments, as well as neuropathological features reflecting observations from HD patients. In this report, we contribute to the anatomical phenotyping of this model by comparing high-resolution ex vivo DTI measurements obtained in aged transgenic HD rats and wild-type controls. By region of interest analysis supplemented by voxel-based statistics, we find little evidence of atrophy in basal ganglia regions, but demonstrate altered DTI measurements in the dorsal and ventral striatum, globus pallidus, entopeduncular nucleus, substantia nigra, and hippocampus. These changes are largely compatible with DTI findings in preclinical and clinical HD patients. We confirm earlier reports that HD rats express a moderate neuropathological phenotype, and provide evidence of altered DTI measures in specific HD-related brain regions, in the absence of pronounced morphometric changes.