Progressive tau aggregation does not alter functional brain network connectivity in seeded hTau.P301L mice

Jan R. Detrez, Ines R. H. Ben-Nejma*, Kristof Van Kolen, Debby Van Dam, Peter Paul De Deyn, Erik Fransen, Marleen Verhoye, Jean-Pierre Timmermans, Rony Nuydens, Annemie Van der Linden, Georgios A. Keliris, Winnok H. De Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Progressive accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau is a hallmark of various neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease. However, to date, the functional effects of tau pathology on brain network connectivity remain poorly understood. To directly interrogate the impact of tau pathology on functional brain connectivity, we conducted a longitudinal experiment in which we monitored a fibril-seeded hTau.P301L mouse model using correlative whole-brain microscopy and resting-state functional MRI. Despite a progressive aggravation of tau pathology across the brain, the major resting-state networks appeared unaffected up to 15 weeks after seeding. Targeted analyses also showed that the connectivity of regions with high levels of hyperphosphorylated tau was comparable to that observed in controls. In line with the ostensible retention of connectivity, no behavioural changes were detected between seeded and control hTau.P301L mice as determined by three different paradigms. Our data indicate that seeded tau pathology, with accumulation of tau aggregates throughout different regions of the brain, does not alter functional connectivity or behaviour in this mouse model. Additional correlative functional studies on different mouse models should help determine whether this is a generalizable trait of tauopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105011
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2020


  • Tau pathology
  • hTau-P301L
  • Fibril seeding
  • Whole brain microscopy
  • Resting-state functional MRI
  • Functional connectivity

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