Article

In vivo fiber tracking in the rat brain on a clinical 3T MRI system using a high strength insert gradient coil

Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 05/2007; 35(3):1077-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.01.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In vivo neuroimaging methods permit longitudinal quantitative examination of the dynamic course of neurodegenerative conditions in humans and animal models and enable assessment of therapeutic efforts in mitigating disease effects on brain systems. The study of conditions affecting white matter, such as multiple sclerosis, demyelinating conditions, and drug and alcohol dependence, can be accomplished with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a technique uniquely capable of probing the microstructural integrity of white matter fibers in the living brain. We used a 3T clinical MR scanner equipped with an insert gradient coil that yields an order of magnitude increase in performance over the whole-body hardware to acquire in vivo DTI images of rat brain. The resolution allowed for fiber tracking evaluation of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficients in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum. A comparison of short (46 min) and long (92 min) acquisition time DTI protocols indicated low but adequate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR=6.2) of the shorter protocol to conduct quantitative fiber tracking enhanced by multiple acquisitions. As observed in human studies, FA in the rat splenium was higher than in the genu. Advantages of this technology include the use of similar user interface, pulse sequences, and field strength for preclinical animal and clinical human research, enhancing translational capabilities. An additional benefit of scanning at lower field strength, such as 3 T, is the reduction of artifacts due to main field inhomogeneity relative to higher field animal systems.

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