Mouse models have been instrumental in understanding genetic determinants of aging and its crucial role in neurodegenerative diseases. However, few studies have analyzed the evolution of the mouse brain over time at baseline. Furthermore, mouse brain studies are commonly conducted on the C57BL/6 strain, limiting the analysis to a specific genetic background. In Parkinson’s disease, the gradual demise of nigral dopaminergic neurons mainly contributes to the motor symptoms. Interestingly, a decline of the dopaminergic neuron function and integrity is also a characteristic of physiological aging in some species. Age-related nigro-striatal features have never been studied in mice of different genetic backgrounds. In this study, we analyze the morphological features in the striatum of three common mouse strains, C57BL/6J, A/J, and DBA/2J at 3-, 9- and 15 months of age. By measuring dopaminergic markers, we uncover age-related changes that differ between strains and evolve dynamically over time. Overall, our results highlight the importance of considering background strain and age when studying the murine nigro-striatal circuit in health and disease.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience