Prenatal alcohol exposure reduces magnetic susceptibility contrast and anisotropy in the white matter of mouse brains.
Prenatal alcohol exposure can result in long-term cognitive and behavioral deficits. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) refers to a range of permanent birth defects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure, and is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in the US. Studies by autopsy and conventional structural MRI indicate that the midline structures of the brain are particularly vulnerable to prenatal alcohol exposure. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has shown that abnormalities in brain white matter especially the corpus callosum are very common in FASD. Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is a novel technique that measures tissue's magnetic property. Such magnetic property is affected by tissue microstructure and molecular composition including that of myelin in the white matter. In this work, we studied three major white matter fiber bundles of a mouse model of FASD and compared it to control mice using both QSM and DTI. QSM revealed clear and significant abnormalities in anterior commissure, corpus callosum, and hippocampal commissure, which were likely due to reduced myelination. Our data also suggested that QSM may be even more sensitive than DTI for examining changes due to prenatal alcohol exposure. Although this is a preclinical study, the technique of QSM is readily translatable to human brain.
Cao, W; Li, W; Han, H; O'Leary-Moore, SK; Sulik, KK; Allan Johnson, G; Liu, C
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