Prenatal Cerebral Ischemia Disrupts MRI-Defined Cortical Microstructure Through Disturbances in Neuronal Arborization

Department of Pediatrics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.
Science translational medicine (Impact Factor: 14.41). 01/2013; 5(168):168ra7. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004669
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Children who survive preterm birth exhibit persistent unexplained disturbances in cerebral cortical growth with associated cognitive and learning disabilities. The mechanisms underlying these deficits remain elusive. We used ex vivo diffusion magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate in a preterm large-animal model that cerebral ischemia impairs cortical growth and the normal maturational decline in cortical fractional anisotropy (FA). Analysis of pyramidal neurons revealed that cortical deficits were associated with impaired expansion of the dendritic arbor and reduced synaptic density. Together, these findings suggest a link between abnormal cortical FA and disturbances of neuronal morphological development. To experimentally investigate this possibility, we measured the orientation distribution of dendritic branches and observed that it corresponds with the theoretically predicted pattern of increased anisotropy within cases that exhibited elevated cortical FA after ischemia. We conclude that cortical growth impairments are associated with diffuse disturbances in the dendritic arbor and synapse formation of cortical neurons, which may underlie the cognitive and learning disabilities in survivors of preterm birth. Further, measurement of cortical FA may be useful for noninvasively detecting neurological disorders affecting cortical development.

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    12/2014; 1(12). DOI:10.1002/acn3.138
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    ABSTRACT: Preterm infants are born during a critical period of brain maturation, in which even subtle events can result in substantial behavioral, motor and cognitive deficits, as well as psychiatric diseases. Recent evidence shows that the main source for these devastating disabilities is not necessarily white matter (WM) damage but could also be disruptions of cortical microstructure. Animal studies showed how moderate hypoxic-ischemic conditions did not result in significant neuronal loss in the developing brain, but did cause significantly impaired dendritic growth and synapse formation alongside a disturbed development of neuronal connectivity as measured using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). When using more advanced acquisition settings such as high-angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI), more advanced reconstruction methods can be applied to investigate the cortical microstructure with higher levels of detail. Recent advances in dMRI acquisition and analysis have great potential to contribute to a better understanding of neuronal connectivity impairment in preterm birth. We will review the current understanding of abnormal preterm cortical development, novel approaches in dMRI, and the pitfalls in scanning vulnerable preterm infants.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2015; 8(1066). DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.01066 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other stress related disorders has been associated with aberrations in the hippocampus and the frontal brain areas. More recently, other brain regions, such as the caudate nucleus, the putamen and the amygdala have also been suggested to play a role in the development of mood disorders. By exposing rats to a variety of stressors over a period of eight weeks, different phenotypes, i.e. stress susceptible (anhedonic-like) and stress resilient animals, can be discriminated based on the sucrose consumption test. The anhedonic-like animals are a well validated model for MDD. Previously, we reported that in vivo diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) of the hippocampus shows altered diffusion properties in chronically stressed rats independent of the hedonic state and that the shape of the right hippocampus is differing among the three groups, including unchallenged controls. In this study we evaluated diffusion properties in the prefrontal cortex, caudate putamen (CPu) and amygdala of anhedonic-like and resilient phenotypes and found that mean kurtosis in the CPu was significantly different between the anhedonic-like and resilient animals. In addition, axial diffusion and radial diffusion were increased in the stressed animal groups in the CPu and the amygdala, respectively. Furthermore, we found that the CPu/brain volume ratio was increased significantly in anhedonic-like animals as compared with control animals. Concurrently, our results indicate that the effects of chronic stress on the brain are not lateralized in these regions. These findings confirm the involvement of the CPu and the amygdala in stress related disorders and MDD. Additionally, we also show that DKI is a potentially important tool to promote the objective assessment of psychiatric disorders.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e95077. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095077 · 3.53 Impact Factor


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Jun 4, 2014