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Magnetic Resonance Insights

Preclinical MRI and NMR Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease: Concepts and Applications

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Magnetic Resonance Insights 2008:2 75-91

Published on 03 Nov 2008

DOI: 10.4137/MRI.S971


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Marc Dhenain1,2,3

1CEA, DSV, I2BM, SHFJ, MIRCen Program, 4 Place du Général Leclerc, 91401 OrsayCedex, France. 2CNRS, URA 2210, 4 Place du Général Leclerc, 91401 Orsay Cedex, France. 3CEA, DSV, I2BM, NEUROSPIN, Centre CEA de Saclay, Bât. 145, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France.

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease is an important social and economic issue for our societies. The development of therapeutics against this severe dementia requires assessing the effects of new drugs in animal models thanks to dedicated biomarkers. This review first overviews Alzheimer’s disease and its models as well as the concept of biomarkers. It then focuses on MRI and NMR biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in animals. Anatomical markers such as atrophy and angiography are useful to phenotype newly developed models of Alzheimer’s disease, even if the alterations in these animals are not as severe as in humans. Amyloid plaques imaging is a promising marker of the pathology in animals, and is a rapidly evolving field of MRI. Functional methods such as perfusion and diffusion imaging or spectroscopy are able to detect alterations in transgenic mice mimicking Alzheimer and also to show similar alterations than in humans. They can thus be good translational markers of the disease. Manganese-Enhanced MRI shows a reduction of neuronal transportation in transgenic models of Alzheimer and it allows monitoring improvements induced by treatments of the disease. It is thus a promising biomarker of the pathology in animals.



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