A quantitative magnetic resonance histology atlas of rat brain development with regional estimates of growth and variability

Evan Calabresea,b, Alexandra Badeaa, Charles Watsonc,d, G. Allan Johnsona,b
aCenter for In Vivo Microscopy, Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
bBiomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
cHealth Sciences, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia
dNeuroscience Research Australia, Australia

Neuroimage 71:196-206, 2013. PMCID: PMC3639493

There has been growing interest in the role of postnatal brain development in the etiology of several neurologic diseases. The rat has long been recognized as a powerful model system for studying neuropathology and the safety of pharmacologic treatments. However, the complex spatiotemporal changes that occur during rat neurodevelopment remain to be elucidated. This work establishes the first magnetic resonance histology (MRH) atlas of the developing rat brain, with an emphasis on quantitation. The atlas comprises five specimens at each of nine time points, imaged with eight distinct MR contrasts and segmented into 26 developmentally defined brain regions. The atlas was used to establish a timeline of morphometric changes and variability throughout neurodevelopment and represents a quantitative database of rat neurodevelopment for characterizing rat models of human neurologic disease.

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All work was performed at the Duke Center for In Vivo Microscopy, an NIH /NIBIB Biomedical Technology Resource Center (P41 EB015897). We thank Sally Gewalt and James Cook for assistance with the imaging pipelines; Dr. Yi Qi and Gary Cofer for assistance in specimen preparation and scanning; John Lee and David Joseph Lee for assistance with labeling; and Sally Zimney for assistance in editing.