The utility flourodeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) imaging in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) diagnosis is well established. Recently, measurement of cerebral blood flow using arterial spin labeling MRI (ASL-MRI) has shown diagnostic potential in AD, though it has never been directly compared to FDG-PET.
We employed a novel imaging protocol to obtain FDG-PET and ASL-MRI images concurrently in 17 AD patients and 19 age-matched controls. Paired FDG-PET and ASL-MRI images from 19 controls and 15 AD patients were included for qualitative analysis, while paired images 18 controls and 13 AD patients were suitable for quantitative analyses.
The combined imaging protocol was well tolerated. Both modalities revealed very similar regional abnormalities in AD, as well as comparable sensitivity and specificity for the detection of AD following visual review by two expert readers. Interobserver agreement was better for FDG-PET (kappa 0.75, SE 0.12) than ASL-MRI (kappa 0.51, SE 0.15), intermodality agreement was moderate to strong (kappa 0.45-0.61), and readers were more confident of FDG-PET reads. Simple quantitative analysis of global cerebral FDG uptake (FDG-PET) or whole brain cerebral blood flow (ASL-MRI) showed excellent diagnostic accuracy for both modalities, with area under ROC curves of 0.90 for FDG-PET (95% CI 0.79-0.99) and 0.91 for ASL-MRI (95% CI 0.80-1.00).
Our results demonstrate that FDG-PET and ASL-MRI identify similar regional abnormalities and have comparable diagnostic accuracy in a small population of AD patients, and support the further study of ASL-MRI in dementia diagnosis.
ASL; FDG; PET; MRI; Alzheimer’s disease; spin label; fluorodeoxyglucose; dementia
Previous studies have reported gray matter alterations in patients with migraine, particularly thinning of the cingulate gyrus, and thickening of the somatosensory cortex (SSC) and visual motion processing areas (V3A/MT+). We attempted to replicate these findings in a larger patient population.
Brain anatomy was collected with 3T MRI. Surface-based morphometry was used to segment each brain volume, reconstruct and inflate the cortical sheet, and estimate gray matter thickness.
Eighty-four age and sex-matched participants (28 migraine with aura, 28 migraine without aura, and 28 controls) were studied. No significant differences in somatosensory, cingulate gyrus, or V3A/MT+ cortical thickness were found between the groups, including analysis of specific subregions previously reported to be affected. Whole brain analysis found no regions of differential gray matter thickness between groups. A highly significant inverse correlation between age and whole brain and regional cortical thickness was identified. Power analyses indicate that even a small difference (~0.07 to 0.14 mm) in cortical thickness could have been detected between groups given the sample size.
Using highly sensitive surface-based morphometry, no differences in cortical thickness between patients with migraine and controls could be identified.
Migraine; morphometry; cortical thickness; brain structure
Pathology studies have shown that the anatomical subregions of the hippocampal formation are differentially affected in various neurological disorders, including temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Analysis of structure and function within these subregions using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has the potential to generate insights on disease associations as well as normative brain function. In this study, an atlas-based normalization method (Yushkevich et al., 2009) was used to label hippocampal subregions, making it possible to examine subfield-level functional activation during an episodic memory task in two different cohorts of healthy controls and subjects diagnosed with intractable unilateral TLE. We report, for the first time, functional activation patterns within hippocampal subfields in TLE. We detected group differences in subfield activation between patients and controls as well as inter-hemispheric activation asymmetry within subfields in patients, with dentate gyrus (DG) and the anterior hippocampus region showing the greatest effects. DG was also found to be more active than CA1 in controls, but not in patients’ epileptogenic side. These preliminary results will encourage further research on the utility of subfield-based biomarkers in TLE.
hippocampus; shape-based normalization; postmortem atlas; fMRI; interhemispheric asymmetry; subfields; temporal lobe epilepsy
Recent attempts to understand the biological bases of depression vulnerability have revealed that both the short allele of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and activity in the amygdala are associated with depression. Other studies have reported amygdala hyperactivity associated with the 5-HTTLPR short allele, linking the genetic and neuroimaging lines of research and suggesting a mechanism whereby the short allele confers depression risk. However, fewer investigations have examined the associations between depression, 5-HTTLPR variability, and amygdala activation in a single study. The current study thus investigated whether 5-HTTLPR genotype modulates the association between depressive symptoms and amygdala activity among psychiatrically healthy adults. Regional cerebral blood flow was measured with perfusion fMRI during a task-free scan. We hypothesized differential associations between depressive symptoms and amygdala activity among individuals homozygous for the short allele and individuals homozygous for the long allele. Both whole brain analyses and region-of-interest analyses confirmed this prediction, revealing a significant negative association among the long allele group and a trend of positive association among the short allele group. These results complement existing reports of short allele related amygdala hyperactivity and suggest an additional neurobiological mechanism whereby the 5-HTTLPR is associated with psychiatric outcomes.
depression; mood; 5-HTTLPR; serotonin transporter; amygdala
Consistent resting brain activity patterns have been repeatedly demonstrated using measures derived from resting BOLD fMRI data. While those metrics are presumed to reflect underlying spontaneous brain activity (SBA), it is challenging to prove that association because resting BOLD fMRI metrics are purely model-free and scale-free variables. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is typically closely coupled to brain metabolism and is used as a surrogate marker for quantifying regional brain function, including resting function. Assessing the correlations between resting BOLD fMRI measures and CBF correlation should provide a means of linking of those measures to the underlying SBA, and a means to quantify those scale-free measures. The purpose of this paper was to examine the CBF correlations of 3 widely used neuroimaging-based SBA measures, including seed-region based functional connectivity (FC), regional homogeneity (ReHo), and amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF). Test-retest data were acquired to check the stability of potential correlations across time. Reproducible posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) FC vs regional CBF correlations were found in much of the default mode network and visual cortex. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) FC vs CBF correlations were consistently found in bilateral prefrontal cortex. Both ReHo and ALFF were found to be reliably correlated with CBF in most of brain cortex. None of the assessed SBA measures was correlated with whole brain mean CBF. These findings suggest that resting BOLD fMRI-derived measures are coupled with regional CBF and are therefore linked to regional SBA.
Glutamate (Glu) exhibits a pH and concentration dependent chemical exchange saturation transfer effect (CEST) between its -amine group and bulk water, here termed GluCEST. GluCEST asymmetry is observed at ~3 parts per million downfield from bulk water. Following middle cerebral artery occlusion in the rat brain, an approximately 100% elevation of GluCEST in the ipsilateral side compared to the contralateral side was observed, and is predominantly due to pH changes. In a rat brain tumor model with blood brain barrier disruption, intravenous Glu injection resulted in a clear elevation of GluCEST and a comparable increase in the proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy signal of Glu. GluCEST maps from healthy human brain at 7T were also obtained. These results demonstrate the feasibility and potential of GluCEST for mapping relative changes in Glu concentration as well as pH in vivo. Potential contributions from other brain metabolites to the GluCEST effect are also discussed.
Preclinical studies confirm that the GABA B agonist, baclofen blocks dopamine release in the reward-responsive ventral striatum (VS) and medial prefrontal cortex, and consequently, blocks drug motivated behavior. Its mechanism in humans is unknown. Here, we used continuous arterial spin labeled (CASL) perfusion fMRI to examine baclofen’s effects on blood flow in the human brain.
Twenty-one subjects (all smokers, 12 females) were randomized to receive either baclofen (80 mg/day; N = 10) or placebo (N = 11). A five minute quantitative perfusion fMRI resting baseline (RB) scan was acquired at two time points; prior to the dosing regimen (Time 1) and on the last day of 21 days of drug administration (Time 2). SPM2 was employed to compare changes in RB from Time 1 to 2.
Baclofen diminished cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the VS and mOFC and increased it in the lateral OFC, a region involved in suppressing previously rewarded behavior. CBF in bilateral insula was also blunted by baclofen (T values ranged from −11.29 to 15.3 at p = 0.001, 20 contiguous voxels). CBF at Time 2 was unchanged in placebo subjects. There were no differences between groups in side effects or cigarettes smoked per day (at either time point).
Baclofen’s modulatory actions on regions involved in motivated behavior in humans are reflected in the resting state and provide insight into the underlying mechanism behind its potential to block drug-motivated behavior, in preclinical studies, and its putative effectiveness as an anti-craving/anti-relapse agent in humans.
Baclofen; GABA B agonist; Resting baseline perfusion fMRI; Addiction; Limbic circuitry; Cerebral blood flow
Previously we demonstrated profound effects of dopamine transporter (DAT) SLC6A3 genotype on limbic responses to smoking cues (SCs). Probands carrying at least one copy of the 9-repeat allele (9-repeat carriers) had greater neural responses to SCs in the anatomically interconnected rostral ventral striatum/medial orbitofrontal cortex (VS/mOFC), compared with homozygotes for the 10-repeat allele (10/10-repeats). To test the reliability of the initial findings, we examined perfusion functional magnetic resonance images acquired during SC exposure in a new cohort of smokers (N = 26) who were genotyped for the SLC6A3 polymorphism. In smokers overall, activity was enhanced in the VS/mOFC (t = 3.77). Contrasts between allelic groups revealed that 9-repeat carriers had a greater response to SCs in the VS (t = 3.12) and mOFC (t = 3.19). In separate groups, 9-repeat carriers showed increased activity in the VS (t = 5.47) and mOFC (T = 4.96), while no increases were observed in 10-repeats. Subjective reports of craving correlated with increased activity in reward-related structures including the extended amygdala, insula and post-central gyrus, and decreased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and were DAT-genotype dependent (r = 0.63–0.96). In secondary analyses, we found that The Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence scores correlated with enhanced SC-induced perfusion in 10/10-repeats in the insula, mOFC, medial temporal and superior frontal gyri (r = 0.50–0.82), while correlations were absent in 9-repeat carriers. Despite heterogeneity introduced by a host of factors, including variance in other genes involved in smoking behavior, we confirm that DAT genotype predicts the direction and location of neural responses to SCs.
Addiction; dopamine transporter; genetic variability; neuroimaging; relapse vulnerability; smoking cues
We previously demonstrated differential activation of the mesocorticolimbic reward circuitry in response to cigarette cues independent of withdrawal. Despite robust effects, we noted considerable individual variability in brain and subjective responses. As dopamine (DA) is critical for reward and its predictive signals, genetically driven variation in DA transmission may account for the observed differences. Evidence suggests that a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTRs) polymorphism in the DA transporter (DAT) SLC6A3 gene may influence DA transport. Brain and behavioral responses may be enhanced in probands carrying the 9-repeat allele. To test this hypothesis, perfusion fMR images were acquired during cue exposure in 19 smokers genotyped for the 40 bp VNTR polymorphism in the SLC6A3 gene. Contrasts between groups revealed that 9-repeat (9-repeats) had a greater response to smoking (vs nonsmoking) cues than smokers homozygous for the 10-repeat allele (10/10-repeats) bilaterally in the interconnected ventral striatal/pallidal/orbitofrontal cortex regions (VS/VP/OFC). Activity was increased in 9-repeats and decreased in 10/10-repeats in the VS/VP/OFC (p<0.001 for all analyses). Brain activity and craving was strongly correlated in 10/10-repeats in these regions and others (anterior cingulate, parahippocampal gyrus, and insula; r2 = 0.79–0.86, p<0.001 in all regions). Alternatively, there were no significant correlations between brain and behavior in 9-repeats. There were no differences in cigarette dependence, demographics, or resting baseline neural activity between groups. These results provide evidence that genetic variation in the DAT gene contributes to the neural and behavioral responses elicited by smoking cues.
fMRI; dopamine transporter; gene; smoking; reward; cue
To compare the test-retest reproducibility of pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (ASL) with pulsed (PASL) and continuous (CASL) ASL.
Materials and methods
Twelve healthy subjects were scanned on a 3.0T scanner with PASL, CASL and pCASL. Scans were repeated within-session, after 1 hour and after 1 week to assess reproducibility at different scan intervals.
Comparison of within-subject coefficients of variation (wsCV) demonstrated high within-session reproducibility (i.e. low wsCV) for CASL-based methods (gray matter (GM) wsCV for pCASL: 3.5% ± 0.02%, CASL: 4.1% ± 0.07%) compared to PASL (wsCV: 7.5% ± 0.06%), due to the higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) associated with continuous labeling, evident in the 20% gain in temporal SNR and 58% gain in raw SNR for pCASL relative to PASL. At the one week scan interval, comparable reproducibility between PASL (GM wsCV 9.2% ± 0.12%) and pCASL (GM wsCV 8.5% ± 0.14%) was observed, indicating the dominance of physiological fluctuations.
Although all three approaches are capable of measuring cerebral blood flow within a few minutes of scanning, the high precision and SNR of pCASL, with its insensitivity to vessel geometry, make it an appealing method for future ASL application studies.
magnetic resonance imaging; cerebral blood flow; arterial spin labeling; reproducibility; repeatability; pCASL
Improved diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are needed for our military and veterans, their families, and society at large. Advances in brain imaging offer important biomarkers of structural, functional, and metabolic information concerning the brain. This article reviews the application of various imaging techniques to the clinical problems of TBI and PTSD. For TBI, we focus on findings and advances in neuroimaging that hold promise for better detection, characterization, and monitoring of objective brain changes in symptomatic patients with combat-related, closed-head brain injuries not readily apparent by standard computed tomography or conventional magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
diagnosis; diffusion tensor imaging; fMRI; neuroimaging; OIF/OEF; posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD; TBI; traumatic brain injury; veterans
Arterial spin labeling (ASL) provides noninvasive measurement of tissue blood flow, but sensitivity to motion has limited its application to imaging of myocardial blood flow (MBF). While different cardiac phases can be synchronized using ECG triggering, breath holding is generally required to minimize effects of respiratory motion during ASL scanning, which may be challenging in clinical populations. Here a free-breathing myocardial ASL technique with the potential for reliable clinical application is presented, by combining ASL with a navigator-gated, ECG-triggered TrueFISP readout sequence. Dynamic myocardial perfusion signals were measured at multiple delay times that allowed simultaneous fitting of MBF and arterial transit time (ATT). With the assist of a non-rigid motion correction program, the estimated mean MBF was 1.00±0.55mL/g/min with a mean transit time of approximately 400ms. The intraclass correlation coefficient of repeated scans was 0.89 with a mean within subject coefficient of variation (wsCV) of 22%. Perfusion response during mild to moderate stress was further measured. The capability for non-invasive, free-breathing assessment of MBF using ASL may offer an alternative approach to first-pass perfusion MRI for clinical evaluation of patients with coronary artery disease.
Myocardial blood flow (MBF); Navigator-echo; Free-breathing; Non-rigid motion correction; Arterial spin labeling (ASL)
A range of impulse control disorders (ICDs) are reported to occur in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, alterations in brain activity at rest and during risk taking occurring with ICDs in PD are not well understood.
We used both arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion fMRI to directly quantify resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI to measure neural responses to risk taking during performance on the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART).
18 PD patients, either with a diagnosis of one or more ICDs (N=9) or no lifetime ICD history (N=9), participated. BOLD fMRI data demonstrated that PD patients without an ICD activate the mesocorticolimbic pathway during risk taking. Compared with non-ICD patients, ICD patients demonstrated significantly diminished BOLD activity in the right ventral striatum during risk taking and significantly reduced resting CBF in the right ventral striatum.
ICDs in PD are associated with reduced right ventral striatal activity at rest and diminished striatal activation during risk taking, suggesting that a common neural mechanism may underlie ICDs in individuals with PD and those without PD. Thus, treatments for ICDs in non-PD patients warrant consideration in PD patients with ICDs.
Non-invasive measurement of resting state cerebral blood flow (CBF) may reflect alterations of brain structure and function after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, previous imaging studies of resting state brain in chronic TBI have been limited by several factors, including measurement in relative rather than absolute units, use of crude spatial registration methods, exclusion of subjects with substantial focal lesions, and exposure to ionizing radiation, which limits repeated assessments. This study aimed to overcome those obstacles by measuring absolute CBF with an arterial spin labeling perfusion fMRI technique, and using an image preprocessing protocol that is optimized for brains with mixed diffuse and focal injuries characteristic of moderate and severe TBI. Resting state CBF was quantified in 27 individuals with moderate to severe TBI in the chronic stage, and 22 demographically matched healthy controls. In addition to global CBF reductions in the TBI subjects, more prominent regional hypoperfusion was found in the posterior cingulate cortices, the thalami, and multiple locations in the frontal cortices. Diffuse injury, as assessed by tensor-based morphometry, was mainly associated with reduced CBF in the posterior cingulate cortices and the thalami, where the greatest volume losses were detected. Hypoperfusion in superior and middle frontal cortices, in contrast, was associated with focal lesions. These results suggest that structural lesions, both focal and diffuse, are the main contributors to the absolute CBF alterations seen in chronic TBI, and that CBF may serve as a tool to assess functioning neuronal volume. We also speculate that resting reductions in posterior cingulate perfusion may reflect alterations in the default-mode network, and may contribute to the attentional deficits common in TBI.
arterial spin labeling; cerebral blood flow; lesion; magnetic resonance imaging; traumatic brain injury
This study assesses the utility of a hybrid optical instrument for noninvasive transcranial monitoring in the neurointensive care unit. The instrument is based on diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) for measurement of cerebral blood flow (CBF), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for measurement of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin concentration. DCS/NIRS measurements of CBF and oxygenation from frontal lobes are compared with concurrent xenon-enhanced computed tomography (XeCT) in patients during induced blood pressure changes and carbon dioxide arterial partial pressure variation.
Seven neurocritical care patients were included in the study. Relative CBF measured by DCS (rCBFDCS), and changes in oxy-hemoglobin (ΔHbO2), deoxy-hemoglobin (ΔHb), and total hemoglobin concentration (ΔTHC), measured by NIRS, were continuously monitored throughout XeCT during a baseline scan and a scan after intervention. CBF from XeCT regions-of-interest (ROIs) under the optical probes were used to calculate relative XeCT CBF (rCBFXeCT) and were then compared to rCBFDCS. Spearman’s rank coefficients were employed to test for associations between rCBFDCS and rCBFXeCT, as well as between rCBF from both modalities and NIRS parameters.
rCBFDCS and rCBFXeCT showed good correlation (rs = 0.73, P = 0.010) across the patient cohort. Moderate correlations between rCBFDCS and ΔHbO2/ΔTHC were also observed. Both NIRS and DCS distinguished the effects of xenon inhalation on CBF, which varied among the patients.
DCS measurements of CBF and NIRS measurements of tissue blood oxygenation were successfully obtained in neurocritical care patients. The potential for DCS to provide continuous, noninvasive bedside monitoring for the purpose of CBF management and individualized care is demonstrated.
Near-infrared spectroscopy; Diffuse correlation spectroscopy; Cerebral blood flow; Xenon CT; Neurocritical care
Recent studies have implicated the short allele of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) in depression vulnerability, particularly in the context of stress. Several neuroimaging studies have shown that 5-HTTLPR genotype predicts amygdala reactivity to negatively valenced stimuli, suggesting a mechanism whereby the short allele confers depression risk. The current study investigated whether 5-HTTLPR genotype similarly affects neural activity during an induced sad mood and during recovery from sad mood. Participants were 15 homozygous short (S) and 15 homozygous long (L) individuals. Regional cerebral blood flow was measured with perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging during four scanning blocks: baseline, sad mood, mood recovery and following return to baseline. Comparing mood recovery to baseline, both whole brain analyses and template-based region-of-interest analyses revealed greater amygdala activity for the S vs the L-group. There were no significant amygdala differences found during the induced sad mood. These results demonstrate the effect of the S allele on amygdala activity during intentional mood regulation and suggest that amygdala hyperactivity during recovery from a sad mood may be one mechanism by which the S allele confers depression risk.
mood; genetics; amygdala; depression; cognitive neuroscience
The problem of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) exemplifies the challenges of dealing with a broad range of aging related chronic disorders that require long-term, labor-intensive and expensive care. As the “baby-boom” generation ages and brain diseases become more prevalent, the need to confront the pending health care crisis is more urgent than ever before. Indeed, there is now a critical need to expand significantly the national effort to solve the problem of AD with special focus on prevention.
The “Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease 2020” (PAD 2020) initiative aims to create a new paradigm for planning and supporting the organization of worldwide cooperative research networks to develop new technologies for early detection and treatments of aging related memory and motor impairments. PAD 2020 is developing an implementation plan to justify: a) increasing the federal budget for research; b) developing novel national resources to discover new interventions for memory and motor disorders; c) creating innovative and streamlined decision-making processes for selecting and supporting new ideas.
Since 1978, the National Institute on Aging (NIA/NIH) established an extensive national network of AD research facilities at academic institutions including: AD Centers (ADCs), Consortium to Establish a Registry for AD (CERAD), AD Cooperative Study (ADCS), AD Drug Discovery Program, National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), National Cell Repository for AD (NCRAD), and AD Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). However, despite the success of these program and their critical contributions, they are no longer adequate to meet the challenges presented by AD.
PAD2020 is designed to address these changes by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs. For example, the ADCs (P30s and P50s) can be enhanced by converting some into Comprehensive AD Centers (CADCs) to support not only research, but also by being demonstration projects on care/ treatment, clinical trials, and education as well as by seamlessly integrating multi-site collaborative studies (ADCS, ADNI, Patient Registries, Clinical Data Banks, etc.) into a cohesive structure that further enhances the original mission of the NIA ADCs.
Regional CADCs offer greater efficiency and cost savings while serving as coordinating hubs of existing ADCs thereby offering greater economies of scale and programmatic integration. The CADCs also broaden the scope of ADC activities to include research on interventions, diagnosis, imaging, prevention trials, and other longitudinal studies that require long-term support. Thus, CADCs can address the urgent need to identify subjects at high risk of AD for prevention trials and very early in the course of AD for clinical trials of disease modification. The enhanced CADCs will allow more flexibility among ADCs by supporting collaborative linkages with other institutions, and drawing upon a wider expertise from different locations.
This perspective paper describes the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) CADC Model as an illustrative example of how an existing ADC can be converted into a CADC by better utilization of Penn academic resources to address the wide range of problems concerning AD. The intent of this position paper is to stimulate thinking and foster the development of other or alternative models for a systems approach to the study of dementia and movement disorders.
During sustained periods of a taxing cognitive workload, humans typically display time-on-task (TOT) effects, in which performance gets steadily worse over the period of task engagement. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in this study to investigate the neural correlates of TOT effects in a group of 15 subjects as they performed a 20-minute continuous psychomotor vigilance test (PVT). Subjects displayed significant TOT effects, as seen in progressively slower reaction times and significantly increased mental fatigue ratings after the task. Perfusion data showed that the PVT activates a right lateralized fronto-parietal attentional network in addition to the basal ganglia and sensorimotor cortices. The fronto-parietal network was less active during post-task rest compared to pre-task rest, and regional CBF decrease in this network correlated with performance decline. These results demonstrate the persistent effects of cognitive fatigue in the fronto-parietal network after a period of heavy mental work and indicate the critical role of this attentional network in mediating TOT effects. Furthermore, resting regional CBF in the thalamus and right middle frontal gyrus prior to task onset was predictive of subjects' subsequent performance decline, suggesting that resting CBF quantified by ASL perfusion fMRI may be a useful indicator of performance potential and a marker of the level of fatigue in the neural attentional system.
Time-on-task effect; psychomotor vigilance test; ASL perfusion fMRI; fronto-parietal network
We evaluate the impact of template choice on template-based segmentation of the hippocampus in epilepsy. Four dataset-specific strategies are quantitatively contrasted: the “closest to average” individual template, the average shape version of the closest to average template, a best appearance template and the best appearance and shape template proposed here and implemented in the open source toolkit Advanced Normalization Tools (ANTS). The cross-correlation similarity metric drives the correspondence model and is used consistently to determine the optimal appearance. Minimum shape distance in the diffeomorphic space determines optimal shape. Our evaluation results show that, with respect to gold-standard manual labeling of hippocampi in epilepsy, optimal shape and appearance template construction outperforms the other strategies for gaining data-derived templates. Our results also show the improvement is most significant on the diseased side and insignificant on the healthy side. Thus, the importance of the template increases when used to study pathology and may be less critical for normal control studies. Furthermore, explicit geometric optimization of the shape component of the unbiased template positively impacts the study of diseased hippocampi.
Diffeomorphic; Deformable image registration; human cortex; template; epilepsy
The role of nitric oxide (NO) in the activation-flow coupling (AFC) response to periodic electrical forepaw stimulation was investigated using signal averaged laser Doppler (LD) flowmetry. LD measures of calculated cerebral blood flow (CBF) were obtained both prior and after intra-peritoneal administration of the non-selective nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) (40 mg/kg). Characteristic baseline low frequency vasomotion oscillations (0.17 Hz) were observed after L-NNA administration. These LDCBF oscillations were synchronous within but not between hemispheres. L-NNA reduced the magnitude of the AFC response (p< 0.05) for longer stimuli (1 minute) with longer inter-stimulus intervals (2 minutes). In contrast, the magnitude of the AFC response for short duration stimuli (4 seconds) with short inter-stimulus intervals (20 seconds) was augmented (p < 0.05) after L-NNA. An interaction occurred between L-NNA induced vasomotion oscillations and the AFC response with the greatest increase occurring at the stimulus harmonic closest to the oscillatory frequency. Nitric oxide may therefore modulate the effects of other vasodilators involved in vasomotion oscillations and the AFC response.
nitric oxide; oscillations; laser-Doppler flowmetry; cerebral blood flow
Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is a noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for microvascular blood flow measurement. We used a continuous ASL scheme (CASL) to investigate the hyperemic flow difference between major muscle groups in human extremities. Twenty-four healthy subjects with no evidence of vascular disease were recruited. MRI was conducted on a 3.0 Tesla Siemens Trio whole body system with a transmit/receive knee coil. A nonmagnetic orthopedic tourniquet system was used to create a 5-min period of ischemia followed by a period of hyperemic flow (occlusion pressure = 250 mmHg). CASL imaging, lasting from 2 min before cuff inflation to 3 min after cuff deflation, was performed on the midcalf, midfoot, and midforearm in separate sessions from which blood flow was quantified with an effective temporal resolution of 16 s. When muscles in the same anatomic location were compared, hyperemic flow was found to be significantly higher in the compartments containing muscles known to have relatively higher slow-twitch type I fiber compositions, such as the soleus muscle in the calf and the extensors in the forearm. In the foot, the plantar flexors exhibited a slightly delayed hyperemic response relative to that of the dorsal compartment, but no between-group flow difference was observed. These results demonstrate that CASL is sensitive to flow heterogeneity between diverse muscle groups and that nonuniform hyperemic flow patterns following an ischemic paradigm correlate with relative fiber-type predominance.
skeletal muscle; magnetic resonance imaging
To test the hypothesis that flow measurements using continuous arterial spin labeling (CASL) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in muscle depend upon transit delay, and examine the repeatability of CASL measurements.
Materials and Methods
A total of 23 healthy subjects underwent CASL imaging of the calf, foot, and forearm with varying postlabeling delay (PLD = 1000, 1500, and 1900 msec). Experiments were conducted on a 3.0T system. An orthopedic tourniquet system was employed to create a five-minute period of ischemia followed by a transient hyperemic flow. Imaging commenced two minutes prior to cuff inflation and ended three minutes after cuff release.
CASL was found able to well resolve the time course of the hyperemic flow pattern with an effective TR of 16 seconds, although we were unable to establish that a plateau had been reached in the flow measurements even at a PLD as long as 1900 msec. Peak hyperemic flow measurements compared favorably with those obtained with contrast-enhanced (CE) MRI following a similar period of ischemia. Region-of-interest (ROI)–based repeated measurements varied by approximately 20% over a period of one hour.
In all anatomic regions studied, flow measurements were found to increase with PLD, suggesting the prolonged transit delay in muscle.
continuous arterial spin labeling; CASL; magnetic resonance; skeletal muscle; blood flow; hyperemia; transit delay
The effects of early life experience on later brain structure and function have been studied extensively in animals, yet the relationship between childhood experience and normal brain development in humans remains largely unknown. Using a unique longitudinal data set including ecologically valid in-home measures of early experience during childhood (at age 4 and 8 years) and high-resolution structural brain imaging during adolescence (mean age 14 years), we examined the effects on later brain morphology of two dimensions of early experience: parental nurturance and environmental stimulation. Parental nurturance at age 4 predicts the volume of the left hippocampus in adolescence, with better nurturance associated with smaller hippocampal volume. In contrast, environmental stimulation did not correlate with hippocampal volume. Moreover, the association between hippocampal volume and parental nurturance disappears at age 8, supporting the existence of a sensitive developmental period for brain maturation. These findings indicate that variation in normal childhood experience is associated with differences in brain morphology, and hippocampal volume is specifically associated with early parental nurturance. Our results provide neuroimaging evidence supporting the important role of warm parental care during early childhood for brain maturation.
Childhood experience; Parental nurturance; Environmental stimulation; Hippocampus; Morphology
This study examined the utility of structural and functional MRI at 1.5 and 3 Tesla (T) in the pre-surgical evaluation and prediction of post-surgical cognitive outcome in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Forty-nine patients undergoing presurgical evaluation for temporal lobe (TL) resection and twenty-five control subjects were studied. Patients completed standard pre-surgical evaluations including, intracarotid amobarbital test (IAT) and neuropsychological testing. During functional imaging, subjects performed a complex visual scene-encoding task. High-resolution structural MRI scans were used to quantify hippocampal volumes. Both structural and functional imaging successfully lateralized the seizure focus and correlated with IAT memory lateralization, with improvement for functional imaging at 3T as compared to 1.5T. Ipsilateral structural and functional MRI data was related to cognitive outcome and greater functional asymmetry was related to earlier age of onset. These findings support continued investigation of the utility of MRI and fMRI in the presurgical evaluation of TLE.
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy; Epilepsy Surgery; fMRI; Neuropsychological Outcome; Wada; IAT
A data-driven approach for lateralization of brain function based on the spatial coherence difference of functional MRI (fMRI) data in homologous regions-of-interest (ROI) in each hemisphere is proposed. The utility of using coherence laterality (CL) to determine function laterality was assessed first by examining motor laterality using normal subjects’ data acquired both at rest and with a simple unilateral motor task and subsequently by examining mesial temporal lobe memory laterality in normal subjects and patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. The motor task was used to demonstrate that CL within motor ROI correctly lateralized functional stimulation. In patients with unilateral epilepsy studied during a scene-encoding task, CL in a hippocampus-parahippocampus-fusiform (HPF) ROI was concordant with lateralization based on task activation, and the CL index (CLI) significantly differentiated the right side group to the left side group. By contrast, normal controls showed a symmetric HPF CLI distribution. Additionally, similar memory laterality prediction results were still observed using CL in epilepsy patients with unilateral seizures after the memory encoding effect was removed from the data, suggesting the potential for lateralization of pathological brain function based on resting fMRI data. A better lateralization was further achieved via a combination of the proposed approach and the standard activation based approach, demonstrating that assessment of spatial coherence changes provides a complementary approach to quantifying task-correlated activity for lateralizing brain function.
fMRI; coherence; laterality; IAT