Defining an analytic framework to evaluate quantitative MRI markers of traumatic axonal injury: Preliminary results in a mouse closed head injury model

M. Haber, E. B. Hutchinson, N. Sadeghi, W. H. Cheng, D. Namjoshi, P. Cripton, M. O. Irfanoglu, C. Wellington, R. Diaz-Arrastia, C. Pierpaoli

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32 Scopus citations


Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a hallmark of traumatic brain injury (TBI) pathology. Recently, the Closed Head Injury Model of Engineered Rotational Acceleration (CHIMERA) was developed to generate an experimental model of DAI in a mouse. The characterization of DAI using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; diffusion tensor imaging, DTI) may provide a useful set of outcome measures for preclinical and clinical studies. The objective of this study was to identify the complex neurobiological underpinnings of DTI features following DAI using a comprehensive and quantitative evaluation of DTI and histopathology in the CHIMERA mouse model. A consistent neuroanatomical pattern of pathology in specific white matter tracts was identified across ex vivo DTI maps and photomicrographs of histology. These observations were confirmed by voxelwise and regional analysis of DTI maps, demonstrating reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in distinct regions such as the optic tract. Similar regions were identified by quantitative histology and exhibited axonal damage as well as robust gliosis. Additional analysis using a machine-learning algorithm was performed to identify regions and metrics important for injury classification in a manner free from potential user bias. This analysis found that diffusion metrics were able to identify injured brains almost with the same degree of accuracy as the histology metrics. Good agreement between regions detected as abnormal by histology and MRI was also found. The findings of this work elucidate the complexity of cellular changes that give rise to imaging abnormalities and provide a comprehensive and quantitative evaluation of the relative importance of DTI and histological measures to detect brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0164-17.2017
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Glia
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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