Cerebral periventricular white matter injury stands as a leading cause of cognitive, behavioral and motor impairment in preterm infants. There is epidemiological and histopathological evidence demonstrating the role of prenatal or neonatal inflammation in brain injury in preterm infants. In order to define the effect of an inflammatory insult in the developing brain on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, we obtained high resolution conventional and diffusion MR images of the brain of rat pups after an inflammatory injury. Rat pups were subjected on postnatal day 5 (P5) to a stereotaxic injection of lipopolysaccharide in the corpus callosum and then imaged at 11.7. T on days 0, 2 and 4 following the injury. They were subsequently sacrificed for immunohistochemistry. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) acquired at high spatial resolution showed an initial reduction of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in the white matter. This was followed by an increase in ADC value and in T2 relaxation time constant in the white matter, with an associated increase of radial diffusivity of the corpus callosum, and a 10-fold increase in ventricular size. On histology, these MR changes corresponded to widespread astrogliosis, and decreased proportion of the section areas containing cresyl violet positive stain. The increase in radial diffusivity, typically attributed to myelin loss, occurred in this case despite the absence of myelin at this developmental stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-767
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Apparent diffusion coefficient
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • High field MRI
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Myelin
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Radial diffusivity
  • White matter injury


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