Cerebral edema induced in mice by a convulsive dose of soman. Evaluation through diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and histology

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PurposeIn the present study, diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) and histology were used to assess cerebral edema and lesions in mice intoxicated by a convulsive dose of soman, an organophosphate compound acting as an irreversible cholinesterase inhibitor.MethodsThree hours and 24 h after the intoxication with soman (172 μg/kg), the mice were anesthetized with an isoflurane/N2O mixture and their brain examined with DW-MRI. After the imaging sessions, the mice were sacrificed for histological analysis of their brain.ResultsA decrease in the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was detected as soon as 3 h after the intoxication and was found strongly enhanced at 24 h. A correlation was obtained between the ADC change and the severity of the overall brain damage (edema and cellular degeneration): the more severe the damage, the stronger the ADC drop. Anesthesia was shown to interrupt soman-induced seizures and to attenuate edema and cell change in certain sensitive brain areas. Finally, brain water content was assessed using the traditional dry/wet weight method. A significant increase of brain water was observed following the intoxication.ConclusionsThe ADC decrease observed in the present study suggests that brain edema in soman poisoning is mainly intracellular and cytotoxic. Since entry of water into the brain was also evidenced, this type of edema is certainly mixed with others (vasogenic, hydrostatic, osmotic). The present study confirms the potential of DW-MRI as a non-invasive tool for monitoring the acute neuropathological consequences (edema and neurodegeneration) of soman-induced seizures.

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