Journal article

Differential X-ray phase contrast tomography of Alzheimer plaques in mouse models: perspectives for drug development and clinical imaging techniques

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a looming threat on an ever-ageing population, with devastating effects on the human intellect. A particular characteristic lesion - the extracellular amyloid plaque - accumulates in the brain of AD patients during the course of the disease, and could therefore be used to monitor the progression of the disease, years before the first neurological symptoms appear. In addition, strategies for drug intervention in AD are often based on amyloid reduction, since amyloid plaques are hypothesized to be involved in a chain of reactions leading to the death of neurons. Developments in both fields would benefit from a microscopic technique that is capable of single plaque imaging, ideally in 3D. While such a non-destructive, single-plaque imaging technique does not yet exist for humans, it has been recently shown that synchrotron based differential X-ray phase contrast imaging can be used to visualize individual plaques at m m resolution in mouse models of AD ex-vivo. This method, which relies on a grating interferometer to measure refraction angles induced by fluctuations in the refractive index, yields a precise three-dimensional distribution of single plaques. These data could not only improve the understanding of the evolution of AD or the effectiveness of drugs, but could also help to improve reliable markers for current and future non-invasive clinical imaging techniques. In particular, validation of PET markers with small animal models could be rapidly carried out by co-registration of PET and DPC signals.


Related material