Contrast-enhanced in vivo magnetic resonance microscopy of the mouse brain enabled by noninvasive opening of the blood-brain barrier with ultrasound.
The use of contrast agents for neuroimaging is limited by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which restricts entry into the brain. To administer imaging agents to the brain of rats, intracarotid infusions of hypertonic mannitol have been used to open the BBB. However, this technically challenging approach is invasive, opens only a limited region of the BBB, and is difficult to extend to mice. In this work, the BBB was opened in mice, using unfocused ultrasound combined with an injection of microbubbles. This technique has several notable features: it (a) can be performed transcranially in mice; (b) takes only 3 min and uses only commercially available components; (c) opens the BBB throughout the brain; (d) causes no observed histologic damage or changes in behavior (with peak-negative acoustic pressures of 0.36 MPa); and (e) allows recovery of the BBB within 4 h. Using this technique, Gadopentetate Dimeglumine (Gd-DTPA) was administered to the mouse brain parenchyma, thereby shortening T(1) and enabling the acquisition of high-resolution (52 × 52 × 100 micrometers(3)) images in 51 min in vivo. By enabling the administration of both existing anatomic contrast agents and the newer molecular/sensing contrast agents, this technique may be useful for the study of mouse models of neurologic function and pathology with MRI.
Howles, GP; Bing, KF; Qi, Y; Rosenzweig, SJ; Nightingale, KR; Johnson, GA
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