"Fluid Compartments Influence Elastography of the Aging Mouse Brain"

April 17, 2023

A paper co-authored by MD/PhD student Gary Ge, Professor Kevin Parker, Professor Jannick Rolland (Institute of Optics), and Drs. Wei Song and Maikan Nedergaard (Center for Translational Neuromedicine) titled "Fluid compartments influence elastography of the aging mouse brain" has been published in Physics in Medicine and Biology. The abstract follows; more information can be found here.


Objective. Elastography of the brain has the potential to reveal subtle but clinically important changes in the structure and composition as a function of age, disease, and injury. Approach. In order to quantify the specific effects of aging on mouse brain elastography, and to determine the key factors influencing observed changes, we applied optical coherence tomography reverberant shear wave elastography at 2000 Hz to a group of wild-type healthy mice ranging from young to old age. Main results. We found a strong trend towards increasing stiffness with age, with an approximately 30% increase in shear wave speed from 2 months to 30 months within this sampled group. Furthermore, this appears to be strongly correlated with decreasing measures of whole brain fluid content, so older brains have less water and are stiffer. Rheological models are applied, and the strong effect is captured by specific assignment of changes to the glymphatic compartment of the brain fluid structures along with a correlated change in the parenchymal stiffness. Significance. Short-term and longer-term changes in elastography measures may provide a sensitive biomarker of progressive and fine-scale changes in the glymphatic fluid channels and parenchymal components of the brain.