White matter dysfunction and degeneration have been a topic of great interest in healthy and pathological aging. While ex vivo studies have investigated age-related changes in canines, little in vivo canine aging research exists. Quantitative diffusion MRI such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has demonstrated aging and neurodegenerative white matter changes in humans. However, this method has not been applied and adapted in vivo to canine populations. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that white matter diffusion changes frequently reported in human aging are also found in aged canines. The study used Tract Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) and a region of interest (ROI) approach to investigate age related changes in fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AxD) and radial diffusivity (RD). The results show that, compared to younger animals, aged canines have significant decreases in FA in parietal and temporal regions as well as the corpus callosum and fornix. Additionally, AxD decreases were observed in parietal, frontal and midbrain regions. Similarly, an age-related increase in RD was observed in the right parietal lobe while MD decreases were found in the midbrain. These findings suggest that canine samples offer a model for healthy human aging as they exhibit similar white matter diffusion tensor changes with age.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience