Using MRI to predict the fate of excitotoxic lesions in rats

  • Cholvin Thibault
  • Giorgi Lisa
  • Baril Nathalie
  • Brezun Jean-Michel
  • Poucet Bruno
  • Chaillan Franck

ART

Excitotoxic lesions are frequently used to assess the role of cerebral structures in cognitive processes in rodents. However, the precise site and extent of these lesions remain unknown without histological verifications. Using a 7-Teslas MRI system and a T2-weighted turbo-RARE sequence, MR images were acquired at several time points following NMDA lesions (1h, 6h, 24h, 48h, 1 week and 2 weeks). NMDA infusions into the parenchyma induced a clear and delineable hyperintense signal from 1h up to 1-week post-surgery. Hyperintensity volumes were compared with NeuN and Cresyl violet histological quantifications of the lesion magnitude. NMDA-induced hypersignal is observed as soon as 1h post-injection and is a reliable estimate of the presence (or absence) of a lesion. Compared to NeuN, Cresyl violet staining underestimates the extent of the lesion in significant proportions. The MRI hyperintensity generated by NMDA instillation into the parenchyma can be used as a powerful tool to confirm the diffusion of the drug into the cerebral tissue, to ascertain the locus of injection and predict with a high success rate the fate of NMDA lesions as soon as 1h post-surgery. This approach could be very useful in a large variety of lesion studies in rodents.

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