[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathological forms of impulsivity are manifest in a number of psychiatric disorders listed in DSM-5, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance use disorder. However, the molecular and cellular substrates of impulsivity are poorly understood. Here, we investigated a specific form of motor impulsivity in rats, namely premature responding, on a five-choice serial reaction time task.
We used in vivo voxel-based magnetic resonance imaging and ex vivo Western blot analyses to investigate putative structural, neuronal, and glial protein markers in low-impulsive (LI) and high-impulsive rats. We also investigated whether messenger RNA interference targeting glutamate decarboxylase 65/67 (GAD65/67) gene expression in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcbC) is sufficient to increase impulsivity in LI rats.
We identified structural and molecular abnormalities in the NAcbC associated with motor impulsivity in rats. We report a reduction in gray matter density in the left NAcbC of high-impulsive rats, with corresponding reductions in this region of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65/67) and markers of dendritic spines and microtubules. We further demonstrate that the experimental reduction of de novo of GAD65/67 expression bilaterally in the NAcbC is sufficient to increase impulsivity in LI rats.
These results reveal a novel mechanism of impulsivity in rats involving gamma aminobutyric acidergic and structural abnormalities in the NAcbC with potential relevance to the etiology and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and related disorders.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite widespread application to human imaging, voxel-based morphometry (VBM), where images are compared following grey matter (GM) segmentation, is seldom used in mice. Here VBM is performed for the R6/2 model of Huntington's disease, a progressive neurological disorder. This article discusses issues in translating the methods to mice and shows that its statistical basis is sound in mice as it is in human studies. Whole brain images from live transgenic and control mice are segmented into GM maps after processing and compared to produce statistical parametric maps of likely differences. To assess whether false positives were likely to occur, a large cohort of ex vivo magnetic resonance brain images were sampled with permutation testing. Differences were seen particularly in the striatum and cortex, in line with studies performed ex vivo and as seen in human patients. In validation, the rate of false positives is as expected and these have no discernible distribution through the brain. The study shows that VBM successfully detects differences in the Huntington's disease mouse brain. The method is rapid compared to manual delineation and reliable. The templates created here for the mouse brain are freely released for other users in addition to an open-source software toolbox for performing mouse VBM.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 07/2013; · 2.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Addiction is a chronically relapsing brain disorder that insidiously affects the motivational and cognitive control systems of susceptible individuals. Clinical research over the last two decades has profited from the technique of positron emission tomography (PET), a non-invasive imaging technique that allows the longitudinal assessment of addiction-relevant biomarkers in current and former drug users. The vast majority of this research has unsurprisingly focused on the brain dopamine (DA) systems given their pivotal role in primary drug reinforcement and the rich abundance of dopaminergic PET tracers. However, the provocative failure of dopaminergic medications in addiction has fuelled the search for alternative treatments. This article considers current controversies in this field as well as prospects for elucidating neurotransmitter mechanisms in addiction beyond DA.
Current opinion in neurobiology 05/2013; · 7.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that impulsivity in rats predicts the emergence of compulsive cocaine seeking and taking, and is coupled to decreased D(2/3) receptor availability in the ventral striatum. Since withdrawal from cocaine normalises high impulsivity in rats, we investigated, using positron emission tomography (PET), the effects of response-contingent cocaine administration on D(2/3) receptor availability in the striatum. Rats were screened for impulsive behavior on the 5-choice serial reaction time task. After a baseline PET scan with the D(2/3) ligand [(18)F]fallypride, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine for 15 days under a long-access schedule. As a follow up, rats were assessed for impulsivity and underwent a second [(18)F]fallypride PET scan. At baseline, we found that D(2/3) receptor availability was significantly lower in the left, but not right, ventral striatum of high-impulsive rats compared with low-impulsive rats. While the number of self-administered cocaine infusions was not different between the two impulsivity groups, impulsivity selectively decreased in high-impulsive rats withdrawn from cocaine. This effect was accompanied by a significant increase in D(2/3) receptor availability in the left, but not right, ventral striatum. We further report that D(2/3) receptor availability was inversely related to baseline D(2/3) receptor availability in the ventral striatum of high-impulsive rats, as well as to the left and right dorsal striatum of both low-impulsive and high-impulsive rats. These findings indicate that the reduction in impulsivity in high-impulsive rats by prior cocaine exposure may be mediated by a selective correction of deficient D(2/3) receptor availability in the ventral striatum. A similar baseline-dependent mechanism may account for the therapeutic effects of stimulant drugs in clinical disorders such as ADHD.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 11 February 2013; doi:10.1038/npp.2013.44.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2013; · 6.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simultaneous PET–MR acquisition provides the high temporal and spatial resolution of MRI with the specificity of PET. In PET, accurate modelling of physiological function in vivo requires the time-activity curve of tracer in blood plasma, known as the arterial input function (AIF). As the gold standard method of blood sampling is inherently prohibitive in the small animal case, here we discuss how we prepare to rapidly sample MRI signals from gadolinium-doped tracer to obtain the tracer input functions from a simultaneous PET-MR measurement. ΔR2⁎ measurements taken from EPI images were used to obtain first pass bolus AIFs in the rat brain from DSC-MRI datasets of 5 rats. AIFs obtained using our automatic algorithm were found to be consistent between animals and compared well with manual methods without need for a priori voxel selection. A variable flip angle FLASH sequence used for T1 mapping was successfully tested in a phantom study, providing accurate measurements of Gd concentration.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 02/2013; 702:126–128. · 1.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic heart failure, as a result of acute myocardial infarction, is a leading cause of death worldwide. Combining diagnostic imaging modalities may aid the direct assessment of experimental treatments targeting heart failure in vivo. Here we present preliminary data using the Cambridge combined PET/MRI imaging system in a mouse model of acute myocardial infarction. The split-magnet design can deliver uncompromised MRI and PET performance, for better assessment of disease and treatment in a preclinical environment.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 02/2013; 702:47–49. · 1.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Severe brain hypoxia in the territory of the occluded artery is a key feature of ischemic stroke. This region can be imaged using positron emission tomography (PET) and the standard hypoxia radiotracer (18)F-fluoromisonidazole ((18)F-FMISO). However, the utility of (18)F-FMISO is limited by its slow accumulation in the lesion. Therefore, this study investigated three hypoxia-sensitive radiotracers, namely the nitroimidazole (18)F-fluoroazomycin arabinoside ((18)F-FAZA) and two (64)Cu bis(thiosemicarbazone) complexes ((64)Cu-ATSM and (64)Cu-ATSE), expected to have improved pharmacokinetic profiles relative to (18)F-FMISO, in a rodent model of ischemic stroke. METHODS: In anaesthetised Wistar rats, the distal middle cerebral artery was permanently occluded by electrocoagulation, the radiotracers administered intravenously and animals PET scanned for up to 3hours, followed by T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to map the infarct. RESULTS: As expected, late and prominent (18)F-FMISO retention was observed despite lower tracer delivery into the affected region. Time-activity curves revealed that both (64)Cu-ATSM and (64)Cu-ATSE showed rapid entry and efflux from the brain, but did not show significant accumulation in the lesion. (18)F-FAZA showed limited brain penetration, and accumulation in the lesion was inconsistent, low and as slow as (18)F-FMISO. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests further development of these radiotracers as hypoxia markers for ischemic stroke may not be warranted.
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 01/2013; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Current models dictate that, depending on occurrence of early reperfusion, the ischemic penumbra either undergoes or escapes infarction (i.e., "pan-necrosis"). However, tissue outcome following temporary middle-cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo) in rodents can also include selective neuronal loss (SNL), which even if subtle may impede functional recovery. In order to explore the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke, determine potential therapeutic targets and monitor effects of therapy, in vivo imaging surrogates of these varied histopathological outcomes applicable in the clinical setting would be useful. Although hyperintense signal on T(2)-weighted MRI in the chronic post-stroke stage is considered a reliable surrogate of tissue infarction, SNL is not associated with T(2)W abnormal signal. In the clinical setting, the neuron-specific PET ligand (11)C-flumazenil (FMZ) has been used to identify both pan-necrosis and peri-infarct SNL, but this inference has not been histopathological confirmed so far. Here we investigated the late tissue sequelae of tMCAo in the rodent using in vivo T(2)W MRI and FMZ-PET against post mortem immunohistochemistry as gold standard. METHODS: Adult spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) underwent 45min distal-clip middle-cerebral artery occlusion and, 28days later, FMZ-PET and T(2)W-MRI, immediately followed by immunohistochemistry for neuronal loss (NeuN), activated microglia and astrocytosis. Based on standard histopathological definitions, ischemic lesions were classified into pan-necrosis, partial infarction or SNL. NeuN changes and FMZ binding across the whole hemisphere were quantified in the same set of 44 regions-of-interest according to previously validated protocols; linear regressions between these two measures were carried out both within and across subjects. RESULTS: Both cortical pan-necrosis/partial infarction and SNL were present in all rats except one, where SNL was isolated and extensive. Infarction/partial infarction, but not SNL, was associated with T(2)W hyperintense signals and cortical atrophy. In contrast, FMZ binding was decreased in all types of lesions including SNL, in proportion with NeuN staining intensity both within (p<0.05 to <0.001) and across (p<0.001) subjects, including the subject that showed pure SNL (p=0.01). CONCLUSION: This novel study revealed three main facts: i) long-term histopathological cortical changes following 45min tMCAo in SHRs included all three of SNL, partial infarction and frank infarction; ii) T2W MRI showed conspicuous high signal lesions for complete or partial infarction, but no changes for SNL; and iii) FMZ-PET was sensitive to all three types of tMCAo-induced histopathological changes, including isolated SNL, suggesting it is a valid surrogate for the histological sequelae of focal cerebral ischemia. In addition, the finding of almost universal completed cortical infarction at 28days differed from our previous findings at 14-day survival using exactly the same experimental protocol and rat strain, where SNL was the almost exclusive outcome, suggesting a phenomenon of delayed cortical infarct maturation whereby the extensive neuronal loss present at two weeks matures into infarction at four. Prospective studies are needed to investigate this intriguing observation.
Neurobiology of Disease 11/2012; · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has proved to be an ideal modality for non-destructive and highly detailed assessment of structural morphology in biological tissues. Here we used MRI to make a dataset of ex vivo brains from two different rodent models of Huntington's disease (HD), the R6/2 line and the YAC 128 mouse. We are making the whole dataset (399 transgenic HD and wildtype (WT) brains, from mice aged 9-80 weeks) publicly available. These data will be useful, not only to investigators interested in the study of HD, but also to researchers of computational neuroanatomy who may not have access to such large datasets from mouse models. Here we demonstrate a number of uses of such data, for example to produce maps of grey and white matter and cortical thickness. As an example of how the library might provide insights in mouse models of HD, we calculated whole brain grey matter volumes across different age groups with different numbers of cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeats in a fragment of the gene responsible for HD in humans. (The R6/2 dataset was obtained from an allelic series of R6/2 mice carrying a range of CAG repeat lengths between 109 and 464.) This analysis revealed different trajectories for each fragment length. In particular there was a gradient of decreasing pathology with longer CAG repeat lengths, reflecting our previous findings with behavioural and histological studies. There will be no constraints placed on the use of the datasets included here. The original data will be easily and permanently accessible via the University of Cambridge data repository (http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/243361).
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e53361. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We consider the effects of using a fixed linear transformation to match positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data acquired simultaneously using a split-magnet system. Estimates of the frequency offset in MRI scans were used to calculate geometric variability in MRI reconstruction as a consequence of mis-setting this parameter in addition to repeated estimation of the transformation matrix by manual measurements. None of the measured variability approached the resolution of the PET images, so we concluded that a fixed matrix can be reliably used in such a system.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 01/2012; · 1.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complexins (Cplxs) are small, soluble, regulatory proteins that bind reversibly to the SNARE complex and modulate synaptic vesicle release. Cplx1 knockout mice (Cplx1(-/-)) have the earliest known onset of ataxia seen in a mouse model, although hitherto no histopathology has been described in these mice. Nevertheless, the profound neurological phenotype displayed by Cplx1(-/-) mutants suggests that significant functional abnormalities must be present in these animals. In this study, MRI was used to automatically detect regions where structural differences were not obvious when using a traditional histological approach. Tensor-based morphometry of Cplx1(-/-) mouse brains showed selective volume loss from the thalamus and cerebellum. Stereological analysis of Cplx1(-/-) and Cplx1(+/+) mice brain slices confirmed the volume loss in the thalamus as well as loss in some lobules of the cerebellum. Finally, stereology was used to show that there was loss of cerebellar granule cells in Cplx1(-/-) mice when compared to Cplx1(+/+) animals. Our study is the first to describe pathological changes in Cplx1(-/-) mouse brain. We suggest that the ataxia in Cplx1(-/-) mice is likely to be due to pathological changes in both cerebellum and thalamus. Reduced levels of Cplx proteins have been reported in brains of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, understanding the effects of Cplx depletion in brains from Cplx1(-/-) mice may also shed light on the mechanisms underlying pathophysiology in disorders in which loss of Cplx1 occurs.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e32636. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simultaneous positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide both functional and structural information about disease. However, for quantitative PET measurements all sources of scatter and absorption that photons undergo on their trajectory between source and detector must be assessed. In simultaneous PET/MR, this includes the scatter and absorption undergone in MR radio frequency (RF) coils that lie directly in the field of view (FOV). This work quantifies the sensitivity and resolution impact of various coil arrangements in the PET FOV using Monte Carlo simulations for a preclinical system. The sensitivity and resolution impact of five typical RF coils has been simulated by tracking γ-ray scatter locations and by reconstructing 18F and 68Ge sources with activity in the range 0.1MBq to 1MBq. The majority of scattering is found to be from coil support structures, with sensitivity loss up to 25% and spatial resolution loss up to 0.6mm. Subsequently six common supporting polymers were compared for their scattering effect. Typically for 5mm thick material the probability of a true can be reduced by ∼10%. The effect of misaligning a surface coil on scatter location is also demonstrated, and having dense electronic materials between 2mm and 6mm from the source is shown to result in a spatial resolution loss ∼5% and a sensitivity loss up to 17%.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have developed code to test the potential of GPUs for speeding up typical 3D Medical Image registration tasks. We have used NVIDIA's CUDA programming language because this is very close to C and hence such code is likely to have lasting value. We find registration using both affine and B-Spline based non-linear transformations can be greatly speeded up. A typical very high resolution registration using up to one B-Spline control point every two voxels can be completed in about 5 minutes using a Normalized Correlation cost function and in about eight minutes using a Normalized Mutual Information cost function.
Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record (NSS/MIC), 2009 IEEE; 12/2009
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal, inherited neurodegenerative CAG disorder characterized by marked brain atrophy. We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with manual volumetry for three dimensional (3D) morphological phenotyping of ex vivo brains of R6/2 mice, the most commonly used model of HD. High resolution 3D images were acquired for 18 week old wild-type (WT) and R6/2 mice. Although overall brain volumes were the same between genotypes, decreases in volumes were found in the cortex and striatum of R6/2 mice, with significant volume increases in the lateral ventricles and globus pallidus. There was no change in the volume of the amygdala, internal capsule or hippocampal formation. There was a significant increase in signal intensity in the globus pallidus, amygdala, cortex and striatum in R6/2 mice that may reflect neuronal atrophy. This study clearly shows the potential of MRI for morphological phenotyping of rodent models of HD and other neurological diseases. Having obtained proof-of-principle for the technique using ex vivo tissue, it is now our intention to carry out in vivo measurement of developing pathology in HD transgenic mice, and correlate this with behavioral deficits.
Neurobiology of Disease 11/2008; 33(1):12-9. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The R6/2 mouse is the most common mouse model used for Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal, inherited neurodegenerative CAG disorder characterized by marked brain atrophy. We scanned 47 R6/2 transgenic and 42 wildtype (WT) ex vivo mouse brains at 18 weeks of age using high resolution, three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for automated voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis. We found differences between genotypes in specific brain structures. Many of these changes were bilateral and were found in regions known to be involved in the behavioral deficits present in both R6/2 mice and HD patients. In particular, changes were evident in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, cortex and hypothalamus. In the striatum, changes were heterogenous and reminiscent of striosomal distribution. Changes were also seen in the cerebellum, as might be expected in a mouse carrying a repeat length typical of juvenile onset HD. Many of these changes were not detected by manual 2D morphometry from the same MR images. These data indicate that VBM will be a valuable technique for in vivo measurement of developing pathology in HD transgenic mice, and may be particularly useful for correlating histologically undetectable changes with behavioral deficits.
Neurobiology of Disease 11/2008; 33(1):20-7. · 5.62 Impact Factor