Multimodal MRI evaluation of the mitopark mouse model of Parkinson's disease

Linlin Cong, Eric R. Muir, Cang Chen, Yusheng Qian, Jingwei Liu, K. C. Biju, Robert A. Clark, Senlin Li, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The MitoPark mouse, a relatively new genetic model of Parkinson's disease (PD), has a dopaminergic neuron-specific knock-out that inactivates the mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam), a protein essential for mitochondrial DNA expression and maintenance. This study used multimodal MRI to characterize the neuroanatomical correlates of PD-related deficits in MitoPark mice, along with functional behavioral tests. Compared with agematched wild-Type animals, MitoPark mice at 30 weeks showed: I) reduced whole-brain volume and increased ventricular volume, indicative of brain atrophy, ii) reduced transverse relaxation time (T2∗) of the substantia nigra and striatum, suggestive of abnormal iron accumulation, iii) reduced apparent diffusion coefficient in the substantia nigra, suggestive of neuronal loss, iv) reduced fractional anisotropy in the corpus callosum and substantia nigra, indicative of white-matter damages, v) cerebral blood flow was not significantly affected, and vi) reduced motor activity in open-field tests, reduced memory in novel object recognition tests, as well as decreased mobility in tail suspension tests, an indication of depression. In sum, MitoPark mice recapitulate changes in many MRI parameters reported in PD patients. Multimodal MRI may prove useful for evaluating neuroanatomical correlates of PD pathophysiology in MitoPark mice, and for longitudinally monitoring disease progression and therapeutic interventions for PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0151884
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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