Diffusion tensor imaging correlates with cytopathology in a rat model of neonatal hydrocephalus

Weihong Yuan, Kelley E. Deren, James P. McAllister, Scott K. Holland, Diana M. Lindquist, Alessandro Cancelliere, Melissa Mason, Ahmed Shereen, Dean A. Hertzler, Mekibib Altaye, Francesco T. Mangano

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32 Scopus citations


Background: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a non-invasive MRI technique that has been used to quantify CNS abnormalities in various pathologic conditions. This study was designed to quantify the anisotropic diffusion properties in the brain of neonatal rats with hydrocephalus (HCP) and to investigate association between DTI measurements and cytopathology.Methods: DTI data were acquired between postnatal day 7 (P7) and P12 in 12 rats with HCP induced at P2 and in 15 age-matched controls. Animals were euthanized at P11 or P22/P23 and brains were processed with immunohistochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule (Iba-1), and luxol fast blue (LFB) to assess astrocytosis, microglial reactivity and degree of myelination, respectively.Results: Hydrocephalic rats were consistently found to have an abnormally low (at corrected p-level of <0.05) fractional anisotropy (FA) value and an abnormally high mean diffusivity (MD) value in the cerebral cortex (CX), the corpus callosum (CC), and the internal capsule (IC). Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated trends of increasing astrocyte and microglial reactivity in HCP rats at P11 that reached statistical significance at P22/P23. A trend toward reduced myelination in the HCP rats was also found at P22/P23. Correlation analysis at P11 for the CC demonstrated statistically significant correlations (or trends) between the DTI measurement (the decreased FA and increased MD values) and the GFAP or Iba-1 rankings. The immunohistochemical rankings in the IC at P22/P23 were also significantly correlated or demonstrated a trend with both FA and MD values.Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of employing DTI on the brain in experimental hydrocephalus in neonatal rats and reveals impairments in multiple regions of interest in both grey and white matter. A strong correlation was found between the immunohistochemical results and the changes in anisotropic diffusion properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalCerebrospinal Fluid Research
StatePublished - Nov 5 2010


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