Early altered directionality of resting brain network state transitions in the TgF344-AD rat model of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease resulting in memory loss and cognitive decline. Synaptic dysfunction is an early hallmark of the disease whose effects on whole-brain functional architecture can be identified using resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI). Insights into mechanisms of early, whole-brain network alterations can help our understanding of the functional impact of AD’s pathophysiology. Here, we obtained rsfMRI data in the TgF344-AD rat model at the pre- and early-plaque stages. This model recapitulates the major pathological and behavioural hallmarks of AD. We used co-activation pattern (CAP) analysis to investigate if and how the dynamic organization of intrinsic brain functional networks states, undetectable by earlier methods, is altered at these early stages. We identified and characterized six intrinsic brain states as CAPs, their spatial and temporal features, and the transitions between the different states. At the pre-plaque stage, the TgF344-AD rats showed reduced co-activation of hub regions in the CAPs corresponding to the default mode-like and lateral cortical network. Default mode-like network activity segregated into two distinct brain states, with one state characterised by high co-activation of the basal forebrain. This basal forebrain co-activation was reduced in TgF344-AD animals mainly at the pre-plaque stage. Brain state transition probabilities were altered at the pre-plaque stage between states involving the default mode-like network, lateral cortical network, and basal forebrain regions. Additionally, while the directionality preference in the network-state transitions observed in the wild-type animals at the pre-plaque stage had diminished at the early-plaque stage, TgF344-AD animals continued to show directionality preference at both stages. Our study enhances the understanding of intrinsic brain state dynamics and how they are impacted at the early stages of AD, providing a nuanced characterization of the early, functional impact of the disease’s neurodegenerative process.
bioRxiv , 2024
p. 1-28
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Creation 28.02.2024
Last edited 29.02.2024
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