To evaluate the feasibility of using a clinical 1.5T MR scanner to perform magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) on in vivo rodent brains and to trace major rodent neuronal bundles with anatomical correlation.Materials and Methods:
Two normal adult Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were anesthetized and imaged in a 1.5T MR scanner with a microscopic coil. DTI was performed at a resolution of 0.94 mm × 0.94 mm × 0.5 mm (reconstructed to 0.47 mm × 0.47 mm × 0.5 mm, with b-factors of 600 seconds/mm2 and 1000 seconds/mm2) and a higher resolution of 0.63 mm × 0.63 mm × 0.5 mm (reconstructed to 0.235 mm × 0.235 mm × 0.5 mm, with a b-factor of 1500 seconds/mm2). The fiber-tracking results were correlated with corresponding anatomical sections stained to visualize neuronal fibers. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) of the neuronal fibers were measured and compared with results in published reports.Results:
Several major neuronal fiber tracts, including the corticospinal cord, corpus callosum, and anterior commissure, were identified in all DTI data sets. Stained anatomical sections obtained from the rats confirmed the location of these fibers. The ADC values (0.6–0.8 ± 10−3 mm2/second) of the fibers were similar to published figures. However, the FA values (0.3–0.35) were lower than those obtained in previous studies of white matter in rodent spinal cord.Conclusion:
We have demonstrated the feasibility of using a 1.5T clinical MR scanner for neuronal fiber tracking in rodent brains. The technique will be useful in rodent neuroanatomy studies. Further investigation is encouraged to verify the FA values generated by DTI with such techniques.