There is increasing evidence that widespread cortical cerebral blood flow deficits occur early in the course of Parkinson’s disease. Although cerebral blood flow measurement has been suggested as a potential biomarker for early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, as well as a means for tracking response to treatment, the relationship of cerebral blood flow to α-synucleinopathy, a major pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease, remains unclear. Therefore, we performed arterial spin-labeling magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging on transgenic mice overexpressing human wild-type α-synuclein and age-matched controls to measure cerebral blood flow and degenerative changes. As reported for early-stage Parkinson’s disease, α-synuclein mice exhibited a significant reduction in cortical cerebral blood flow, which was accompanied by motor coordination deficits and olfactory dysfunction. Although no overt degenerative changes were apparent in diffusion tensor imaging images, magnetic resonance imaging volumetric analysis revealed a significant reduction in olfactory bulb volume, similar to that seen in Parkinson’s disease patients. Our data, representing the first report of cerebral blood flow deficit in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease, suggest a causative role for α-synucleinopathy in cerebral blood flow deficits in Parkinson’s disease. Thus, α-synuclein transgenic mice comprise a promising model to study Parkinson’s disease-related mechanisms of cerebral blood flow deficits and to investigate further its utility as a potential biomarker for Parkinson’s disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine