Imaging the cochlea by magnetic resonance microscopy.
The isolated, fixed cochlea of the mustached bat was studied with three dimensional magnetic resonance (MR) microscopy. The cochlea of this animal is about 4 mm in diameter and its entire volume was imaged. With the field of view and matrix size used, the volume elements (voxels) making up the volume data set were isotropic 25 x 25 x 25 micron cubes. Three dimensional (3D) MR microscopy based on isotropic voxels has many advantages over commonly used light microscopy: 1) it is non destructive; 2) it is much less time consuming; 3) no dehydration is required and shrinkage is minimized; 4) the data set can be used to create sections in any desired plane; 5) the proper alignment of sections is inherent in the 3D acquisition so that no reference points are required; 6) the entire data set can be viewed from any point of view in a volume rendered image; 7) the data is digital and features can be enhanced by computer image processing; and 8) the isotropic dimensions of the voxels make the data well-suited for structural reconstructions and measurements. Good images of the osseous spiral lamina, spiral ligament, scala tympani, scala vestibuli, and nerve bundles were obtained. The vestibular (Reissner's) membrane was easily identified in the mustached bat and it appears to bulge into the scala vestibuli. The visibility of this structure suggests that MR microscopy would be well-suited for studies of endolymphatic hydrops.
Henson, MM; Henson, OW; Gewalt, SL; Wilson, JL; Johnson, GA
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