AUTHORS: Tristão Pereira C, Diao Y, Yin T, da Silva A, Lanz B, Pierzchala K, Poitry-Yamate C, Jelescu I

NeuroImage, 225: , January 2021


Brain glucose hypometabolism has been singled out as an important contributor and possibly main trigger to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Intracerebroventricular injections of streptozotocin (icv-STZ) cause brain glucose hypometabolism without systemic diabetes. Here, a first-time longitudinal study of brain glucose metabolism, functional connectivity and white matter microstructure was performed in icv-STZ rats using PET and MRI. Histological markers of pathology were tested at an advanced stage of disease. STZ rats exhibited altered functional connectivity and intra-axonal damage and demyelination in brain regions typical of AD, in a temporal pattern of acute injury, transient recovery/compensation and chronic degeneration. In the context of sustained glucose hypometabolism, these nonmonotonic trends – also reported in behavioral studies of this animal model as well as in human AD – suggest a compensatory mechanism, possibly recruiting ketone bodies, that allows a partial and temporary repair of brain structure and function. The early acute phase could thus become a valuable therapeutic window to strengthen the recovery phase and prevent or delay chronic degeneration, to be considered both in preclinical and clinical studies of AD. In conclusion, this work reveals the consequences of brain insulin resistance on structure and function, highlights signature nonmonotonic trajectories in their evolution and proposes potent MRI-derived biomarkers translatable to human AD and diabetic populations.

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