Optical imaging in an Alzheimer's mouse model reveals amyloid-β-dependent vascular impairment.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1117/1.nph.1.1.011005
Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cerebrovascular disease are often comorbid conditions, but the relationship between amyloid-β and in vivo vascular pathophysiology is poorly understood. We utilized a multimodal, multiscale optical imaging approach, including spatial frequency domain imaging, Doppler optical coherence tomography, and confocal microscopy, to quantify AD-dependent changes in a triple transgenic mouse model (3xTg-AD) and age-matched controls. From three months of age (naïve) to 20 months (severe AD), the brain tissue concentration of total and oxy-hemoglobin (Total Hb, ctO2Hb) decreased 50 and 70%, respectively, in 3xTg-AD mice. Compared to age-matched controls, significant differences in brain hemoglobin concentrations occurred as early as eight months (Total Hb: 126 ± 5 μM versus 108 ± 4 μM; ctO2Hb: 86 ± 5 μM versus 70 ± 3 μM; for control and AD, respectively). These changes were linked to a 29% vascular volume fraction decrease and 35% vessel density reduction in the 20-month-old 3xTg-AD versus age-matched controls. Vascular reduction coincided with increased brain concentration of amyloid-β protein, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) at eight and 20 months compared to the three-month baseline. Our results suggest that amyloid-β blocks the normally reparative effects of upregulated VEGF and eNOS, and may accelerate in vivo vascular pathophysiology in AD.