Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Magnetic resonance imaging of animal brain in vivo

Jens Frahm, Susann Boretius, Takashi Watanabe and Thomas Michaelis
Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH, Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen, Germany
As a non-invasive tool for mapping anatomical and functional aspects of the central nervous system, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reduces the number of animals in follow-up examinations and refines the quality of the results by yielding in vivo data of individual animals over extended time periods. Although applications cover the full range from non-human primates to insects, the vast majority of MRI studies focuses on rodents. This work illustrates selected applications in mice based on three-dimensional images at almost 100 µm isotropic spatial resolution. A primary aim is a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying human brain disorders. In this respect, the cuprizone mouse model allows the identification of MRI markers for demyelination and remyelination.
Complementary, the use of transgenic mice with a Cnp1 deficiency in oligodendrocytes adds selective MRI studies of axonal damage without demyelination. A second goal is the functional assessment of synaptic activity and axonal transport in various brain systems using manganese-enhanced MRI. The contrast agent identifies activity-dependent regional differences in the mouse hippocampus and delineates the efferent pathways to the ventral hippocampal commissure and septal region. While opening the way for investigations of
memory and learning in mutant mice, corresponding studies of the habenulo-interpeduncular system provide links to cognition and behaviour and the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric diseases.

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